Monday, February 07, 2005

OPRYOBIT: The death has been announced of Merle Kilgore. Born in 1935, Kilgore originally made his name as a singer-songwriter, with the emphasis more on the the second half of the job description. He wrote Webb Pierce's More and More, Claude King's Wolverton Mountain and, his best-known work, co-wrote Ring of Fire with June Carter Cash. However, the Cashes would later cast doubt on his involvement with the song - June saying "he encouraged me to write it, and let's leave it at that", while Johnny was given to muttering darkly that Kilgore deserved the credit not at all.

It was as a performer that he first met Hank Williams Jr, who he would go on to manage. In a busy career, he also found time to carve out a career of movie cameos - notably Altman's Nashvilles, Coal Miner's Daughter and Living Proof; to be "singing host" at George Jones' Possum Roller club; to work extensively as a DJ and to become an honrary State Senator of Tennessee. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Kilgore died on Sunday 6th following congestive heart failure, a side-effect of the cancer treatment he was receiving.