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In 1951, Owens moved to Bakersfield, California. He briefly played with Bill Woods & The Orange Blossom Playboys before fronting his own band, The Schoolhouse Playboys. During the mid-1950s, he contributed to a number of singles produced by Capitol Records, including the 1954 Tommy Collins hit "You Better Not Do That." Other session work for the label paired Owens with Faron Young, Tommy Sands, and Wanda Jackson. On the independent label Pep, Owens began releasing his own singles, including the unimpressive covers "Down on the Corner of Love" and "Sweethearts in Heaven." Shortly after, he forged a friendship with songwriter Harlan Howard. In hopes of publishing their songs, the singer/songwriter duo formed Blue Book Music.
After returning to Bakersfield, Owens released the debut album Buck Owens (1961), which featured the hit single " Foolin" Around." By fusing the sounds of classic country with rock and roll, he exhibited a modern sound with his 1962 recordings "Kickin' Our Hearts Around" and "You're for Me." The following year, he assembled his own band, The Buckaroos, which included a drummer, bassist (Merle Haggard), and a pedal steel guitarist. Their first single "Act Naturally" (1963) shot to the top of the charts and paved the way for 15 consecutive No. 1 hits, most notably "Love's Gonna Live Here" (1963); "My Heart Skips a Beat" and "Together Again" (both 1964); "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" and "Before You Go" (both 1965). Owens continued his streak through the late 1960s with the chart toppers "Waitin' in Your Welfare Line," "Open Up Your Heart" (both 1966), "Where Does the Good Times Go," and "Sam's Place" (both 1967).
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Honky Tonk Heroes 7 people in this group
When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
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A uniquely American genre, country music got its start in the South in the early 19th century, when immigrants blended their Old World sounds with African-American musical styles. But it was the lives of the musicians, as told in their songs, that turned country into one of the best-loved musical styles in the United States. Listeners could relate to Jimmie Rodgers' stories of the railroad in "The Brakeman's Blues"; Hank Williams' struggle with depression in tunes such as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"; and the promise of finding someone to rely on in George Jones' "Walk Through This World With Me." And its the universal struggles of love, loss, joy and longing found in each country song that keeps this music—and its performers—relevant throughout time.
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