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Buck Owens

Alvis Edgar Owens Jr. (August 12, 1929 – March 25, 2006), known professionally as Buck Owens, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and band leader. He was the lead singer for Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, which had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music chart. He pioneered what came to be called the Bakersfield sound, named in honor of Bakersfield, California, Owens's adopted home and the city from which he drew inspiration for what he preferred to call "American music".

While the Buckaroos originally featured a fiddle and retained pedal steel guitar into the 1970s, their sound on records and onstage was always more stripped-down and elemental. The band's signature style was based on simple story lines, infectious choruses, a twangy electric guitar, an insistent rhythm supplied by a prominent drum track, and high, two-part vocal harmonies featuring Owens and his guitarist Don Rich.

From 1969 to 1986, Owens co-hosted the popular CBS television variety show Hee Haw with Roy Clark (syndicated beginning in 1971). According to his son Buddy Alan (Owens), the accidental 1974 death of Rich, his best friend, devastated him for years and impacted his creative efforts until he performed with Dwight Yoakam in 1988.

Owens is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Owens was born on a farm in Sherman, Texas, United States, to Alvis Edgar Owens Sr. and Maicie Azel (née Ellington) Owens.

In the biography About Buck., Rich Kienzle writes: "'Buck' was a donkey on the Owens farm." "When Alvis Jr. was three or four years old, he walked into the house and announced that his name also was "Buck." That was fine with the family, and the boy's name became "Buck" from then on."He attended public school for grades 1–3 in Garland, Texas.

Owens' family moved to Mesa, Arizona, in 1937 during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. While attending school in Arizona, Owens found that while he disliked formal schoolwork, he could often satisfy class requirements by singing or performing in school plays. A self-taught musician and singer, Owens became proficient on guitar, mandolin, horns, and drums. When he obtained his first electric steel guitar, he taught himself to play it after his father adapted an old radio into an amplifier. Owens quit school in the ninth grade in order to help work on his father's farm and pursue a music career.

Owens had three sons: Buddy Alan (who charted several hits as a Capitol recording artist in the early 1970s and appeared with his father numerous times on Hee Haw), Johnny, and Michael Owens.

Owens successfully recovered from oral cancer in the early 1990s, but had additional health problems near the end of the 1990s and the early 2000s, including pneumonia and a minor stroke in 2004. These health problems had forced him to curtail his regular weekly performances with the Buckaroos at his Crystal Palace. Owens died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack at his ranch just north of Bakersfield on March 25, 2006, only hours after performing at his club. He was 76 years old.

Owens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He was ranked No. 12 in CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. In addition, CMT also ranked the Buckaroos No. 2 in the network's 20 Greatest Bands in 2005. He was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The stretch of US Highway 82 in Sherman, Texas, is named the Buck Owens Freeway in his honor. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.