A Tribute to the Legendary Roy Clark

Legendary country singer-guitarist Roy Clark passed away yesterday at the age of 85 due to complications from pneumonia. He was a skilled guitarist and a great singer, but he's most famous as the co-host with Buck Owens of "Hee Haw".

The show debuted in 1969, and Roy did close to 600 episodes through the late '90s.

Roy believed the show brought country music to the world: "First and foremost, I am most proud of how 'Hee Haw' did its part to help pave the way for country music to burst from its regional roots to remarkable worldwide popularity."

He guest-starred on all kinds of TV shows like "The Beverly Hillbillies", "The Odd Couple", and "The Muppet Show".  He filled in for Johnny Carson as guest host of "The Tonight Show".  He even did movies, like "Matilda", "Freeway", and "Gordy".

But music was his life.  His father played guitar, fiddle, and banjo and he followed in his dad's footsteps.  In the 1950s he toured with his future "Hee Haw" cast member Grandpa Jones, and even played a couple of weeks with Hank Williams.

Roy had 52 singles make the country charts, starting in 1963 with a song called "Tips of My Fingers".  Nine of his singles reached the Top 10.  The song that he's most identified with is "Yesterday When I Was Young".

He was a Grammy, CMA, and ACM winner.  He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.  According to Billboard, he was the first American artist to perform in the Soviet Union. 

You could even call him a visionary.  He opened a theater in Branson, Missouri in 1983, and it wasn't long after that that theaters started popping up all over the town.

He was longtime friends with baseball legend Mickey Mantle, and performed at his funeral in 1995.

Roy joined BRAD PAISLEY at the 50th Annual CMAs.  They opened with "I'm a pickin' and I'm a grinnin'"...and then performed "I Got A Tiger By the Tail".

Brad loved the guy and posted several tributes to him on his Twitter page.  In one he wrote, "He shaped my path.  My first guitar book was a Roy Clark guitar method. I practiced his style, then practiced making his facial expressions.  He was a hero."

In another he said, "When the Nashville floods wiped out most of my guitars, Roy heard about it and showed up at a show and gave me one of his.  This is who this man was.  Constantly giving.  I owe him so much."

There's a memorial being planned in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is where he spent the last years of his life.

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