March 21

Remembering The Death Of Lefty Frizzell, Whose Vocal Style Played A Major Role In The Genre

On July 19, 1975, Lefty Frizzell died at Nashville Memorial Hospital after suffering a massive stroke. He was only 47 years old.

The country music star has been known for his unique vowel-bending vocal style of singing that has played a major role in country music throughout the decades. He set a style for generations of vocalists that followed him, with George Jones, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, and so much more emulating and expanding his innovations. In fact, country legend Merle Haggard described him as “the most unique thing that ever happened to country music.”

Frizzell, who was the son of an oil driller, broke into big‐time country music in the early 1950s at a remarkable speed. The year 1951 saw the release of several of the most memorable Lefty Frizzell songs, his tour with country legend Hank Williams, and his induction to the Grand Ole Opry.

However, His Success Comes With Some Setbacks.

Despite his massive success, Lefty Frizzell‘s life went through turmoil. In the middle of the 1950s, he started feeling burned out and no longer had the energy to invest in his career. Eventually, he stopped writing and recording songs – especially when his record label wasn’t releasing tracks that he believed to be his best material.

Later on, Frizzell developed a devastating alcohol problem that came to plague him until his death. As his alcohol addiction worsened, his high blood pressure got uncontrollable as well. And he wouldn’t take the medication as he believed it would affect his drinking. 

While his reputation diminished, a new generation of artists still hailed him as an influence and idol. In 1982, seven years after his death, Frizzell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He’s truly one of the most influential country singers of all time.


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