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Tommy Overstreet, Popular 1970s Country Singer, Dies at 78

Image: Tommy Overstreet, Popular 1970s Country Singer, Dies at 78
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By    |   Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 02:50 PM

Tommy Overstreet, the country music legend who reached the height of his popularity in the 1970s, died at his home in Hillsboro, Oregon, on Monday after suffering from a variety of illnesses for years. He was 78.

Overstreet, who was born on Sept. 10, 1937, in Oklahoma City, first became interested in singing through his admiration for his cousin, crooner “Uncle” Gene Austin, who was a popular entertainer during the 1920s and '30s, according to Billboard.

“My uncle told me that you had to sing from the heart and you had to have songs that touched and spoke to other people's hearts,” Overstreet once said. “That's what I tried to do with all of my songs. I tried to think about who I was singing to, and I wanted to touch their hearts.”

When he was 17 years old, Overstreet began his career by singing on Slim Willet’s television show in Texas, according to Hollywood Life. He then went on to form a band called The Shadows during the 1950s. In 1967, Overstreet became the manager of Dot Records in Nashville and, three years later, he reestablished himself as a hit country music singer.

During the 1970s, Overstreet recorded multiple Top 10 hits, including, “Gwen (Congratulations),” “I Don’t Know You (Anymore),” “Send Me No Roses,” “I’ll Never Break These Chains,” and “Heaven Is My Woman’s Love,” Taste of Country reported. His final chart-topper recording was “Next To You” in 1986.

Although Overstreet was thrilled with his successes as a country singer, he bitterly rued the toll that his dedication to his career took on his family, which culminated in his divorce from his first wife.

“The music business and what we do in that career is not great for relationships. You're gone too much,” Overstreet said. “I wouldn't encourage anyone to work that hard. I shouldn't have. I should have stopped and smelled the roses and spent more time with my family. But you learn those things in hindsight. Hindsight is 20/20. As you go down this road, you do what you think is the best thing at the time, and I did. Unfortunately, it cost me some heartbreak and disappointments, but that's how life is."

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Tommy Overstreet, the country music legend who reached the height of his popularity in the 1970s, died at his home in Hillsboro, Oregon, on Monday after suffering from a variety of illnesses for years. He was 78.
tommy overstreet, dies, country, singer
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2015-50-04
Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 02:50 PM
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