Iconic Country Singer Ray Price Dead at 87

His styles ranged from honky-tonk to the lush Nashville sound

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 16, 2013 6:42 PM CST

(Newser) – A link to the golden days of Hank Williams and 78rpm records is gone: Legendary country singer Ray Price died today at home in Texas at age 87, Billboard reports. He had battled pancreatic cancer since last year. "I am at peace. I love Jesus," he said in a message to fans this week. "I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day." His career lasted some 65 years, including styles like honky-tonk, western swing, and the the lush "Nashville sound" of the 1960s and 70s. Born in 1926 in Texas, Price started off by singing at a radio station at age 18.

Relocating to Nashville, he scored a No. 3 country hit with "Talk to Your Heart" in 1952, then moved to Music City and confirmed his stardom with "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes." He formed the Cherokee Boys—which included future stars like Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, and Darrell McCall—and created a signature sound with a 4/4 shuffle. In the 1960s he turned to a lush style with strings, releasing hits like "Danny Boy" and "I'm Still Not Over You." He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997 and kept recording in his later years, CMT notes, even after his cancer diagnosis last year. "Whether it be a shuffle, a Bob Wills swing tune, or a sentimental love song with a string section, he did it all—and did it all very well," reports Billboard. "He will be missed, but his music will endure."

This June 1983 file photo provided by Viva Records, shows country singer Ray Price.
This June 1983 file photo provided by Viva Records, shows country singer Ray Price.   (AP Photo/Viva Records, File)
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