Country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the cornpone TV show Hee Haw for nearly a quarter-century, has died at age 85, per the AP. Publicist Jeremy Westby said Clark died Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. Clark was Hee Haw host or co-host for its entire 24-year run, with Buck Owens his best known co-host. The country music and comedy show's last episode aired in 1993, though reruns continued for a few years thereafter. Clark played the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and other instruments. His skills brought him gigs as guest performer with many top orchestras, including the Boston Pops. In 1976, he headlined a tour of the Soviet Union, breaking boundaries that were usually closed to Americans.
And, of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His hits included "The Tips of My Fingers" (1963), "Yesterday When I Was Young" (1969), "Come Live With Me" (1973), and "Honeymoon Feeling" (1974). He was also known for his instrumental versions of "Malaguena," on 12-string guitar, and "Ghost Riders in the Sky." Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. In his 1994 autobiography, My Life in Spite of Myself, he said the song "Yesterday, When I Was Young" had "opened a lot of people's eyes not only to what I could do but to the whole fertile and still largely untapped field of country music, from the Glen Campbells and the Kenny Rogerses, right on through to the Garth Brookses and Vince Gills." (An emotional Keith Urban was just honored by the CMA.)