September 4

“North to Alaska,” A Number One Hit of Johnny Horton in 1961

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Undeniably, “North to Alaska” was one of Johnny Horton’s signature songs in his entire career. Not to mention, it helped boost his career back then. But up to these days, the song is still being embraced by the country music obsessives. On the other hand, the song will remind us of the legacy and great music of Johnny Horton. Besides, the song is an excellent reminder of how worthy country music was in the past.

Johnny Horton was known as one of the greatest rockabilly country singer and musicians of all time. He was also best known for his saga songs such as “The Battle of New Orleans,” “When it’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s 40 Below)”, “Sink the Bismarck,” and “North to Alaska.” These songs were all successful and they topped the country music charts.

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Before changing direction to country saga songs, Johnny Horton held high esteem of both country and rockabilly like the other legends such as Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, and Bob Luman. Besides, he cut some classic rockabilly tracks such as “Honky Tonk Man,” “One Woman Man,” “Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor,” “Wild One,” and many more. Because of his track “Hony-Tonk Man,” he was recognized by some producers and opened a better musical career. Additionally, the song peaked at number 9 on the Hot Country Songs and number 14 on the Best Seller charts.

North to Alaska…

Mike Philips wrote the words and lyrics of “North to Alaska.” Then, Johnny Horton recorded and released the single in 1960. It was part of his album “Greatest Hits.” Due to its success, it placed at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It also reached at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.

Moreover, the said single was used as the official soundtrack to the movie “North to Alaska.”

A Bit about Johnny Horton…

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Born as John LaGale “Johnny” Horton, the youngest of five siblings yet the most successful of them all. Horton was a native of Cherokee County, Texas and born on April 30, 1925. On his younger days, Horton and his family often traveled to California as migrant fruit pickers.

After graduating from high school, in Gallatin, Texas, Johnny Horton attended Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas, with a basketball scholarship. At that time, he was very athletic and active in sports. Twenty-six colleges offered him basketball scholarships.

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Johnny Horton then went to Alaska for a better life. It was during this period that he started writing songs. When Horton returned to the south, he joined and won a talent competition in Henderson, Texas. As a result, he pursued a musical career.

Johnny Horton married Donna Cook but later on divorced. In 1953, he married Billie Jean Jones, the estranged wife of Hank Williams. They had two daughters.

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