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Johnny Horton

Updated on January 30, 2015

Country Western Rockabilly Singer

Johnny Horton - a voice that is crisp and offers up one heck of a ballad. I had not thought about him for years but recently ran across one of my old tapes and had to relive a wonderful voice. An interesting man. A man who had a premonition about his own dearth (see below). I believe the music industry lost a fantastic voice when they lost Horton.

Premonitions of his death

All was not well, as Johnny kept having premonitions of his death. He had started telling friends and family that he would soon die at the hands of a drunk. He asked his sister to pray and care for Billie Jean and their girls, and he had his mother visit for the week. He canceled his scheduled attendance at the premiere of North To Alaska and tried to back out of his next gig, a club date at the Skyline club in Austin, Texas on November 4. A big star, which he had now become, should never have been playing such a engagement for such little reward ($800), but the common consensus is that he was broke again, and together with Franks' medical bills for his recent hernia operation, any money was welcome.

Tommy Tomlinson flew in from Nashville where he was cutting a duet album with Jerry Kennedy (Tom and Jerry). Johnny used the morning to make arrangements to go duck hunting with Claude King once he'd returned from Austin and he also phoned Johnny Cash for a chat. Cash was stoned and didn't take the call, and has always regretted it. That afternoon, as he went to collect Franks, he kissed Billie Jean goodbye in the same spot Hank had done seven years earlier, and cuddled his two daughters. Against his wife's wishes, Franks got out off his sick bed and off they headed for Austin.

When they got to the Skyline, Horton stayed in his dressing room, convinced that a drunk would kill him if he hung around the bar. After the show, they started the 354 kilometres (220 mi) journey back to Shreveport. Tomlinson was in the back, observing that Horton was driving too fast - Franks was asleep in the front. About 2AM, near Milano, Texas they were crossing a bridge when a truck came at them, hitting both sides of the bridge before plunging into Horton's Cadillac. He had practised avoiding head-on collisions, by driving into verges, but on the narrow bridge he'd had no opportunity. He was still breathing when he was pulled out of the Caddie but died on the way to hospital. The nineteen year old truck driver, James Davis was intoxicated. Johnny Horton had, in fact, died at the hands of a drunk. It is believed that a sun visor rod had pierced Horton's skull. Franks suffered head injuries and young Tomlinson had multiple leg fractures and nine months later, had to have his left leg amputated. Ironically, Davis was virtually unscathed.

per the Wikipedia

Young Abe Lincoln (Make A Tall, Tall Man)

Well, he lived in a cabin way down by the creek

He ran through the dust in his bare feet

But they didn't know that one fine day

That he would rule this U.S.A.

And be the best leader in all the land.

Yes, young Abe Lincoln make a tall tall man.

Yes, young Abe Lincoln make a tall tall man.

lyrics continued with song below

Did you know who Johnny Horton was before this lens?

What's Your Comment!

Every heard of Horton? Like his music?

Never heard of the dude.

Never heard of the dude.

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    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Absolutely, I remember North to Alaska and the Battle of New Orleans. He died waaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon.

    I remember him well.

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      • Dakeas 4 years ago

        Great story songs. No "Sink the Bismarck"?

        Thanks for the lens.

      • blue22d 5 years ago

        Wow, David. Thanks for sharing the info regarding your family and Johnny. My husband's father knew Johnny Cash and shared a few at a bar in Ventura, CA. Small world department I would say.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        My grandfather was good friends with Johnny Horton. I was told Johnny used to bounce my mom on his knee when she was a baby. My grandmother told me he loved to play pinball machines. I grew up listening to and loving his music.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Absolutely, I remember North to Alaska and the Battle of New Orleans. He died waaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon. (disregard my previous entry. Got distracted and clicked the wrong button. Sorry.)

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        Yes, I grew up singing Johnny Horton songs. From the first note you knew it was Johnny Horton. He had a unquie recognizable voice that was clear and strong and unforgettable. What great ballads he left us. From the Product Hunter Dennis Hester.

      (April 30, 1925 - - November 5, 1960)

      The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton

      Honky Tonk Man - Johnny Horton

      Comanche (The Brave Horse) - Johnny Horton

      General George Custer 7th US Calvary

      Oh my, I was afraid you would not stop by!

      MY GUESTS - Thanks for coming.

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          blue22d 5 years ago

          Thanks for stopping by. I miss his sound!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Super lens about a great recording artist!