October 23

The Spine-Chilling Backstory of Johnny Horton’s Death 

While tragic, Johnny Horton’s death has a chilling backstory to it. Despite his “wild-at-heart” voice and looks, Johnny Horton was a man plagued for so many years by the gloomy premonitions of his death. He was even known to promise his loved ones that he’ll get in touch with them once he was in the afterlife. 

As a self-proclaimed psychic, Horton came so close to predicting how he would pass on to the next life that it’s creepy. He believed that he would lose his life at the hands of a drunk. 

Johnny Horton died on November 5, 1960. It was because of a vehicular accident that happened on Highway 79. Horton’s car had a head-on collision with a pick-up truck at the Little River Bridge. 

Horton was with his bassist Tillman Franks and manager Tommy Tomlinson. He was still alive when the ambulances arrived but sadly lost his life on the way to the hospital. As for his companions, while they suffered severe injuries, they survived the ordeal. 

The creepy part is that the pick-up truck’s driver, James Evan Davis, got charged with intoxication and manslaughter. Yes, that’s right, James was drunk during the accident. So, in a way, Johnny Horton’s death was because of a drunk, just like how he predicted it. 

As for his promise to get in touch with his loved ones after passing away, Franks says Horton delivered on that one. 

According to Franks, “One Woman Man,” now one of the many famous Johnny Horton Songs, suddenly played while he was driving to Nashville with singer David Houston. The strange part, he said, was that the CB radio was out because they wanted a quiet drive. Franks claims it sounded like a jukebox, and after the whole song finished playing, the CB radio just cut out again. 

Franks recalls telling singer Merle Kilgore later about what happened. He says that Kilgore told him that Johnny Horton was trying to say that the song would become a hit again. Franks didn’t buy it, reasoning that the song didn’t do too well in the first place. 

Franks should’ve taken that message more seriously because the song reached the Top Ten on the country charts in 1988. George Jones released it as a single twenty-eight years after Johnny Horton’s death.


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Johnny Horton


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