Charlie Daniels, fiddle player and country music legend, dies aged 83

July 7, 2020

Charlie Daniels, a member of the Nation Music Corridor of Fame who sang “The Satan Went Right down to Georgia,” recorded with Bob Dylan and was a vocal supporter of U.S. veterans, died Monday morning after struggling a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83.

By the point the Charlie Daniels Band topped the charts with “Satan” in 1979, the instrumentalist, singer and songwriter had lengthy established an outstanding, multifaceted profession in Nashville. As a session musician, he performed on three of Bob Dylan’s albums — together with the revolutionary “Nashville Skyline” — in addition to recordings for Ringo Starr and Leonard Cohen.

He was a fixture of the touring circuit for the following 40 years, grew to become a tireless advocate for servicemen and girls, and entered the knowledge age as one among nation music’s most outspoken conservative voices.

“His music fused the immediacy of Southern rock with the traditional nation storytelling that he heard as a baby,” Kyle Younger, CEO of the Nation Music Corridor of Fame and Museum, stated Monday. “He introduced new audiences to nation music, pointing individuals to the sources whilst he explored the perimeters.”

He is survived by his spouse, Hazel; son, Charles William Daniels; and Alaya Nowling and Evan Tubb, whom Daniels thought of his grandchildren.

We’d comply with him into battle’:

Born Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Charles Edward Daniels grew up impressed by church music and native bluegrass bands. He listened to Nashville’s WSM and WLAC, which streamed nation and R&B music from all the way in which from Music Metropolis to Daniels’ radio speaker in North Carolina.

Daniels merged these sounds within the mid-1950s to create rock band The Jaguars, which most notably recorded instrumental single “Jaguar,” in Fort Value, Texas, for nationwide distribution through Epic Data. In Texas, he’d join with producer Bob Johnston, who — years later — Daniels would credit score with serving to him discover his method as a songwriter and sought-after session participant in Nashville.

In 1964, Daniels and Johnston co-wrote “It Hurts Me,” a single minimize by Elvis Presley that proved the primary victory in a long time of songwriting success to come back.

“(Elvis) recorded it, and it was by far ..the most important factor that had ever occurred to me in my life,” Daniels as soon as stated.

Three years handed earlier than Daniels, and his distinct country-rock effect would pull into Music Metropolis. Dwelling in Newport, Kentucky, along with his spouse, Hazel, and 2-year-old son, Charles William Daniels, the seasoned stage participant headed South with concepts of substituting joint beer levels for session work in Nashville.

And Daniels rolled into Nashville — actually, as he informed The Tennessean in 2014 — starting a five-decade keep in Center Tennessee.

“I got here to Nashville in 1967, with the clutch out of my automotive and a ($20) greenback invoice,” Daniels informed The Tennessean in 2014. “I did not match the Nashville kind very nicely. I would come out of 12 years of enjoying bang-slang, balls-to-the-wall music in golf equipment, and I performed too loud and too bluesy.”

With Johnston’s assist, Daniels carved his identify within the late 1960s and early ’70s as a marquee Nashville participant, working with the likes of Starr, Cohen, and, most notably, Bob Dylan.

In 1969, Johnston referred to as Daniels to pinch-hit for an absent guitarist throughout a Dylan session at Columbia’s historic Studio A. After the session; Daniels heard 9 phrases from Dylan that might change his life.

“I don’t need one other guitar participant,” Daniels, in a 2019 interview with The Tennessean, recalled listening to. He recited every syllable delivered with a pleasure untouched by five a long time: “I need him.”

He’d end the Dylan periods — what could be “Nashville Skyline,” an album thought of one of the influential out of Music Metropolis within the late 1960s — and returned for two new records with the freewheelin’ Midwesterner, “Self Portrait” and “New Morning.”

“Dammit, it was simply enjoyable,” Daniels stated in 2019. “It was a nice expertise.”

The lifetime of a session sideman would not stick, although. He’d minimize a self-titled debut album in 1970, forming the Charlie Daniels Band — or CDB, because it was identified for many years at live performance theaters, state gala’s, and race tracks — in 1971.

A bearded embodiment of fast-fiddling‘ Southern life, Daniels minimize a handful of solo efforts within the early 1970s, none extra notable than “Hearth on the Mountain” — the Platinum-selling launch that spilled into the mainstream nation and Southern rock success. Daniels would proceed to promote greater than 13.5 million data, per the RIAA, logging 9 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum releases.

On “Hearth …” Daniels launched singles “Lengthy Haired Nation Boy” and “The South’s Gonna Do It Once more,” the latter a swinging concoction of blues, nation, and rock that might be a rallying cry for Daniels’ Southern ethos.

“There are few artists that touched so many alternative generations in our enterprise than Charlie Daniels did,” Sarah Trahern, Nation Music Affiliation CEO, stated in a press release. “In the present day, our neighborhood has misplaced an innovator and advocate of nation music.”

In 1974, alongside longtime supervisor David Corlew, he launched the primary “Volunteer Jam,” an everyday all-star live performance in Tennessee that continued for almost 50 years. Billy Joel, Little Richard, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, Roy Acuff, Garth Brooks, the Allman Brothers Band and The Marshall Tucker Band are among the many alumni of the sequence, which held its most up-to-date version in 2018.

Backed by “The South’s Gonna Do It Once more,” “Trudy,” and the remainder of his rising catalog, Daniels would forge popularity amongst his friends as a scorching stay participant who bridged his steadfast country-rock to bluegrass and blues music.

“We’d comply with him into battle,” buddy and Nashville musician Larry Gatlin shared Monday. “We’d not comply with him on stage. We couldn’t. Nobody else may both. ‘Nuff stated.”

‘Satan Went Down To Georgia’

Upon its launch in 1979, “The Satan Went Right down to Georgia” didn’t simply high the nation chart, it grew to become an enormous pop crossover hit — climbing as much as No. three on Billboard’s Scorching 100 chart behind The Knack’s “My Sharona” and Earth Wind and Hearth’s “After the Love Has Gone.”

The track received Daniels’ solely Grammy Award in 1979 for Greatest Nation Vocal Efficiency by a Duo or Group, and it gained even higher ubiquity one 12 months later when Daniels and his band carried it out within the 1980 movie “City Cowboy.”

“Satan’s” crossover success was distinctive. Nevertheless, it additionally wasn’t an accident. Over the document’s breakneck tempo, Daniels sings of “Johnny,” a hotshot musician who gambles his soul in opposition to the satan in a fiddling duel.

The setup allowed Daniels and his band to pit bluegrass fiddle up in opposition to fiery rock riffs, and it proved to be a successful mixture.

The duel performs out over Daniel’s dizzying solos, and finally, “Johnny” prevails, proclaiming, “I executed informed you as soon as, you son of a b—-, I am the very best there’s ever been.”

As he performed “Satan” at almost every live performance for the following 40 years, Daniels made it a behavior to problem himself.

“I get an opportunity to play it higher tonight than I did final night time and higher tomorrow night time than I did tonight,” Daniels stated in 2016. “I haven’t performed it good but. I’m in love with strolling on stage and entertaining individuals with songs I’ve written. It’s one of many few occasions in my life that I feel like I do know what I’m doing.”

‘All of it provides up’:

Nonetheless, Daniels undoubtedly had many different passions. A staunch supporter of U.S. troops and veterans, he spent a lot of his profession touring abroad to play for service members in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

In 2014, he co-founded the Journey House Challenge, a non-profit that has now raised greater than $1 million for veterans and veterans-related packages and charities. The next 12 months noticed the opening of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Navy Household Middle at Center Tennessee State College.

For the final 4 years, hardly a day glided by without Daniels sharing this message on his Twitter account: “22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY!!”

On the platform, the person who sang 1980’s confrontational “In America” solidified his popularity as one of the outspoken figures in nation music. In everyday posts, he would decry abortion as “homicide,” ask followers to “pray for the blue,” and declare that “Benghazi ain’t going away.”

“We’re sitting on the upstairs porch trying on the northern horizon and watching America gentle up, fireworks going off in all places,” he tweeted on July 4. “It’s possible you’ll tear down statues and burn buildings; however you’ll be able to kill the spirit of patriots, and after they’ve had sufficient, this insanity will finish.”

However, in his twilight years, Daniels additionally continued to narrate to the counter-cultural heroes he as soon as performed with. In 2014, he lined “The Occasions They Are a-Changin,” “Arduous Rain’s Gonna Fall,” and others on a full album of acoustic Dylan covers.

“All this stuff, they’re simply all a part of my life,” he informed The Tennessean in 2014. “All of it provides up. And no matter variations you could have, there are 12 notes of music on the earth the place you’ll find the frequent floor.”

Late profession honors:

In 1994, Daniels returned to the gospel music that influenced him as a baby, releasing his first Christian album, “The Door.” The document would yield Daniels his first of three Grammy Awards nominations for Southern gospel recordings. He’d earn his final Grammy Award nomination in 2005, for Nation Instrumental Efficiency on “I’ll Fly Away.”

Daniels and Corlew launched Blue Hat Data in 1997, a label house for late profession releases the likes of “Street Canines” and Dylan tribute assortment, “Off The Grid.”

At age 70, he joined the ranks of nation music stalwarts enshrined as a Grand Ole Opry member. He’d recurrently carry out on the 94-year-old nation music radio custom till his death.

“To have the ability to be a member and to have my identity linked with my heroes is a few fairly heady stuff for a man that loves music and loves the Grand Ole Opry as a lot as I do,” Daniels as soon as stated.

Past the Opry, Daniels was a fixture of touring circuit till COVID-19 introduced the business to a halt this 12 months.

“We play over 100 cities yearly, and so they’re all particular in their very own method, however whenever you get an opportunity to carry all of it again house, particularly when so lots of your mates are becoming a member of you, it doesn’t get significantly better than that,” Daniels stated in 2019.

In 2016, Daniels earned a high honor for any Nashville musician: A spot alongside the all-time greats within the Nation Music Corridor of Fame and Museum. Coming into at almost 80 years outdated, he joined Randy Travis and Fred Foster for the 12 months’ Corridor of Fame class.

He was “weak” and speechless when listening to the information he could be inducted into the Nation Music Corridor of Fame, Daniels informed The Tennessean in 2016.

“I’m so glad it went this manner,” he stated. “That is the cherry on high of the icing. It doesn’t go any additional. That’s the place the cake stops.”


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