In the 1950s and 1960s, Webb Pierce dominated country music, tallying more No. 1 hits than similar country legends like Hank Williams. His twangy tenor and loud, nasal, high-pitched delivery even influenced a generation of country artists such as Mel Tillis, Faron Young, and Willie Nelson.
Throughout his career, he remains among the cornerstone figures of honky tonk.
Well, without further ado, let’s get to know more about Webb Pierce. Here are some exciting facts you might not have heard about him yet.
1. He’s a native of West Monroe, Louisiana.
Born Michael Webb Pierce on August 8, 1921, the country singer was actually a farmer’s stepson. Hence, he spent most of his boyhood in the fields. His birth father sadly passed away three months after he was born.
2. He had his own local radio show by the time he was sixteen.
While no one in his family performed music, his mother had a collection of country music recordings that inspired him to learn to play guitar before he was a teenager. Soon enough, people started to notice Pierce playing local gigs. Eventually, he earned his own weekly fifteen-minute radio show called Songs by Webb Pierce.
3. He married twice.
In 1942, Pierce married Betty Jane Lewis. The two went on as a duo and appeared on a morning show called Webb Pierce with Betty Jane, the Singing Sweetheart. They divorced later in 1950. He then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he met and married his second wife, Audrey Greisham.
4. He conceived a plan to reach instant stardom.
Pierce supposedly gave a number of young girls some free tickets before the show and would let them sit in the first row. He then asked them to scream and beg for more whenever he ended one song. Well, it truly worked as the enthusiasm spread all through the audience.
5. He resigned from the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1952, Pierce took Hank Williams‘ place in the beloved institution after the latter was fired. Ironically, Pierce quit three years later after refusing to pay commissions for booking and associated talent.
6. He lived a lavish lifestyle.
Another thing Pierce is famous for is his excessive lifestyle. His Nashville home features a $30,000 guitar-shaped swimming pool that eventually became a famous paid tourist attraction with almost 3,000 people visiting weekly.
7. He went through a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Sadly, Pierce succumbed to the disease and breathed one’s last on February 24, 1991. He was laid to rest at Nashville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery.
8. He was inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Pierce’s significant contribution to the genre was recognized by the Country Music Hall of Fame.
While Pierce has one of the most controversial careers, his music carried a magnificent, personal stamp that positions him among the genre’s legendary figures. Everyone will surely agree that Webb Pierce songs are among the best in country music.