Artists Remembered

Country Music Stars Who Died in 2018

These Country Artists Died In 2018 and the Genre Will Never Be The Same Again

Country music has seen its share of loss in 2018. The list of country artists who have died in 2018 includes beloved singers and musicians whose deaths were publicly mourned, as well as key behind-the-scenes people whose contributions to country music didn’t garner as much spotlight, but were just as important. Songwriters, producers and engineers who helped shape country music are also among those the genre has lost in 2018.

Lari White, Daryle Singletary and Confederate Railroad founding member Doug Secrest are among the country musicians who have died in 2018. White died after battling cancer, and Secret also struggled with a long illness before his death, while Singletary’s death at the age of 46 shocked Nashville’s music community. Red Dirt country artist Brandon Jenkins was also tragically young when he died in March after experiencing complications following heart surgery he underwent in February. He was just 48 years old. Scroll through the gallery below to look back on the lives and careers of all of the country artists who have died in 2018.

Lari White: After a battle with cancer, ‘90s country singer Lari White died on Jan. 23 at the age of 52. White’s career began when she won a recording contract through the televised talent competition You Can Be a Star. In addition to her hit singles “Now I Know” and “That’s My Baby,” White also wrote songs for Toby KeithLonestarTravis TrittPat Green and Danny Gokey. She also spoke out against discrimination faced by women in radio.

Daryle Singletary: Daryle Singletary died on Feb. 12 at the age of 46. The causes of his tragically early death are still unknown, but since his passing, the country community has celebrated his life. From a tribute concert at the Ryman to a Nashville ‘90s Night in March that ended with Cole SwindellLoCashJohn Michael Montgomery and more covering Singletary’s “Too Much Fun,” country stars have taken to the stage and social media to honor the late singer.

Brandon Jenkins: Brandon Jenkins, known for his Red Dirt style of country music, died on March 2 following complications from heart surgery in February. He was 48. Jenkins released over a dozen albums during his career, and saw many of his songs, including “Feet Don’t Touch the Ground” and “Finger on the Trigger,” become hits on the Texas music charts. Jenkins was also a philanthropist who supported the Red Dirt Relief Fund, a non-profit that supported affordable healthcare options, especially for the families of independent musicians.

Hazel Smith:  Hazel Smith died at the age of 83 in her Madison, Tenn., home on March 18, 2018. Smith garnered acclaim after a long and varied career in country music, which included work as a journalist, songwriter and publicist. She is credited with coining the term “outlaw country” in the late 1970s while working in publicity, when faced with radio stations seeking a term to describe artists such as Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

Kenny O’Dell:  Kenny O’Dell, the songwriter behind the Judds’ “Mama’s He’s Crazy” and Charlie Rich’s No. 1 single “Behind Closed Doors,” died on March 28 at the age of 72. O’Dell also wrote songs for Tanya TuckerDottie West and Kenny Rogers, and was one of the longest-serving members of the board of directors for the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Randy Scruggs: Musician, songwriter, studio-owner and producer Randy Scruggs died on April 17, following a short battle with illness. He was 64. The son of Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs produced for and performed with artists including Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs, and wrote for artists like Deana Carter. His surviving family has requested that memorial contributions be made to MusiCares or the TJ Martell Foundation in his honor.

Glenn Snoddy: Glenn Snoddy died on May 21 at the age of 96. He was known as the man behind “the Nashville sound,” the fuzzy, distorted guitar effect that he discovered in 1960 by accident. Using the sound made by a blown amp transformer as his inspiration, he invented the Maestro Fuzz-Tone, which was then acquired by Gibson and soon heard everywhere; if you listen to the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, you’re listening to a Fuzz-Tone. Snoddy also recorded classics like Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Hank Williams’ final quartet of hits (including “Your Cheatin’ Heart”).

Wayne Secrest: The surviving members of Confederate Railroad shared on June 2 that one of their founding members, Wayne Secrest, had died following a long illness. He was 68. Confederate Railroad’s debut album has been certified platinum and features six Top 40 hits, including “Jesus and Mama” and “Queen of Memphis.” In their Facebook post announcing Secrest’s death, the band writes, “We shared millions of miles, thousands of concerts and a lifetime of memories. Wayne’s memory will live on in every note we play for as long as you allow us to continue.”

DJ Fontana: Drummer DJ Fontana, who rose to fame in the 1950’s as part of Elvis Presley’s band and played for a number of other artists was 87 years old when he died on June 13. Per a Facebook post from Fontana’s son David, the musician died at 9:33PM, in his sleep: “He was very comfortable with no pain,” David Fontana shared.

Ed King: Ed King, a guitarist in the groundbreaking Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 22nd at the age of 68. He had been battling lung cancer for some time.

Mike Kennedy: Longtime George Strait drummer Mike Kennedy died in a car accident in Tennessee on August 31. He was 59 years old. Kennedy had played in George Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band since the early 1980s. A sad loss for al who knew him.

Burt Reynolds: Burt Reynolds died on September 6 at a hospital in Florida after suffering a heart attack. He was 82. The actor had close ties to the country music scene; he starred with Reba McEntire in the 1993 made-for-TV movie The Man From Left Field, and with Jerry Reed in 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit. Reynolds also released a country album, Ask Me What I Am, in the early 1970s with some success.

Tony Joe White: Singer-songwriter Tony Joe White died at his home in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, of a heart attack on October 24. He was 75. White released more than a dozen albums as an artist, and earned a Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit with his song “Polk Salad Annie,” but he was best known as a songwriter. “Polk Salad Annie” was covered by, among others, Elvis Presley, while “Rainy Night in Georgia” was made famous by rock / pop / R&B artist Brook Benton and “Steamy Windows” became a Top 40 single for Tina Turner.

Freddie Hart: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Freddie Hart died on October 27 in Burbank, California, after suffering complications from pneumonia. He was 91. Hart is best remembered for “Easy Loving,” which earned Song of the Year at 1971’s ACM Awards and CMA Awards. The song also earned Hart two Grammy nominations and was Billboard‘s No. 1 country single of the year 1971. Freddie recorded a Gospel CD shortly before he died which was something he was proud of.

Dave Rowland: Dave & Sugar singer Dave Rowland died on November 1 in Nashville after suffering complications from a stroke. He was 74. He was best known as the lead singer for the country-pop trio, which scored a run of hit singles from 1975 until 1981 that included “The Door Is Always Open,” “Tear Time,” “Golden Tears” and “My World Begins and Ends With You.”

Roy Clark: Roy Clark died at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, due to complications from pneumonia on November 15 at the age of 85. The singer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, but he was perhaps best-known for his role on the TV country music variety series Hee Haw.

– TasteOfCountry 

Discussion

One thought on “Country Music Stars Who Died in 2018

  1. Thanks for sharing and honoring these great tributes  I had the great fortune to work with some of these but knew them all through the industry  Bruce

    Like

    Posted by bgmusiccity | December 4, 2018, 4:53 pm

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