March 5

Remembering The Death of Bob Wills, The Greatest Western Swing Musician Of All Time

On May 13, 1975, Bob Wills breathed his last at the Kent Nursing Home at Fort Worth, Texas. He died of bronchial pneumonia and was 70 then. 

The country legend’s health started to fail in 1964 when he suffered liver ailments and diabetes. The end of his performing days came in 1969 when he suffered a stroke that put him in a fragile state. But that didn’t stop him from recording!

RELATED: Here Are Some Facts About Bob Wills, Known as The King of Western Swing

Despite being partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, Wills helped supervise the five-hour recording session in 1973 for the “Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – For the Last Time.” This two-disc album was the last album recorded by Wills. Sadly, the country legend suffered another stroke during that session, which put him in a nursing home, where he spent his remaining days in and out of a coma while his record sales climbed sharply.

The End Of A Country Music Giant

About 500 people paid final respect to the man considered by millions as the father of western swing. Bob Wills was eulogized at Eastwood Baptist Church in Oklahoma, where his closed casket was surrounded by about fifty wreaths, which were mostly in a fiddle-shaped design.

The gathering included country music luminaries, such as Ernest Tubb and, of course, the original members of Wills’ band, The Texas Playboys.

With a career spanning five decades in music and film, the western swing pioneer has truly inspired generations of country musicians. It’s no surprise when Bob Wills songs continue to enjoy renewed popularity after his death. In fact, he has continued to earn awards. In 1998, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys’ “New San Antonio Rose” was honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Indeed, Bob Wills’ career is beyond comparison.


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