Roy Clark, Known for His Musical Talent in Country and Beyond, Dies at 85




Roy Clark passed away at 85: He was a TV staple in the 1960s - Courtesy photo
Roy Clark passed away at 85: He was a TV staple in the 1960s - Courtesy photo

By JOHN DALY

Roy Clark one of the most talented guitarists in the history of country music — or any other kind of music — has passed away from complications of pneumonia, it was announced. He was 85.

Clark died at his home in Tulsa this morning, publicist Jeremy Westby said.

Clark, the legendary “superpicker,” was best known as co-host with Buck Owens of the TV show Hee Haw, but he was much more than that.

Clark is a GRAMMY, CMA and ACM award winner, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry. He is considered one of the first crossover artists to land singles on both the pop and country charts. His performances on Hee Haw were eagerly anticipated and turned Hee Haw into the longest-running syndicated show in television history.

Roy Clark video by When the Cowboy Sings:

“Humor is a blessing to me,” Clark said. “My earliest recollections are of looking at something and seeing the lighter side. But it’s always spontaneous. I couldn’t write a comedy skit for someone else.”

Clark was personable and the perfect co-host for national TV - Courtesy photo
Clark was personable and the perfect co-host for national TV – Courtesy photo

Clark had many hits. In 1969, “Yesterday, When I Was Young” charted Top 20 Pop and #9 Country (Billboard). Including “Yesterday,” Clark had 23 Top 40 country hits, among them eight Top 10s: “The Tips Of My Fingers” (#10, 1963), “I Never Picked Cotton” (#5) and “Thank God And Greyhound You’re Gone” (#6, 1970), “The Lawrence Welk-Hee Haw Counter Revolution Polka” (#9, 1972), “Come Live With Me” (#1) and “Somewhere Between Love And Tomorrow” (#2, 1973), and “If I Had It To Do All Over Again” (#2, 1976). In addition, his 12-string guitar rendition of Malaguena is considered a classic and, in 1982, he won a Grammy (Best Country Instrumental Performance) for “Alabama Jubilee.”

Throughout the 1960s, Clark toured and recorded several albums. He appeared on TV variety shows ranging from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to The Mike Douglas Show and guested on The Flip Wilson Show.