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George Hamilton IV, International Country Music Star, Dies at 77

By    |   Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 11:52 AM

George Hamilton IV, the Grand Ole Opry stalwart famous for his international No. 1 hit "Abilene," died Wednesday at the age of 77 following a heart attack on Saturday.

Frequently called the "International Ambassador of Country Music," CMT reported that Hamilton performed at the Opry as recently as September 6. His career first took off when he was a freshman at the University of North Carolina, where he recorded John D. Loudermilk's "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," which hit No. 6 on the pop charts in 1956.

Hamilton toured with the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, hosted his own nightly half hour show in the spring of 1959, and was a regular on "The Jimmy Dean Show."

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Billboard noted Hamilton's impressive range.

"He was one of the first Nashville-based artists to blend country with folk, recording many songs by up-and-coming songwriters as Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell," the music publication wrote. "He also recorded many Gospel records which were well received by fans and critics alike."

USA Today wrote, "In a business populated by brash and outlandish stars, Hamilton traded on subtlety, gentility, and decency. In the liner notes of his 1968 RCA album, 'The Gentle Country Sound of George Hamilton IV,' he wrote of a 'quiet, beautiful musical revolution in the world of country music.'"

"This revolutionary grew up in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, went to college for four years, doesn't dig saloons and is happily married," Hamilton wrote. "Do I have to sing honky-tonk songs about slippin' around and wear a rhinestone-studded cowboy suit to be real?"

Hamilton is survived by his wife, Adelaide "Tinky" Hamilton; two sons, Peyton and George V; and a daughter, Mary.



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George Hamilton IV, the Grand Ole Opry stalwart famous for his international No. 1 hit "Abilene," died Wednesday at the age of 77 following a heart attack on Saturday.
george hamilton iv, dies, opry, star
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2014-52-18
Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 11:52 AM
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