Obituary: Eddie Dean

AS HOLLYWOOD phenomena go, the singing cowboys was a comparatively short-lived one; they made their first appearance a few years after the advent of talkies and had all but disappeared two decades later.

Cowboy songs had been a sheet-music staple since the turn of the century and in 1925 a genuine Texas cowboy, Carl T. Sprague, enjoyed sales of nearly a million copies with his "When the Work's All Done This Fall", but it was the movies that would most successfully bring together music and the Old West.

John Wayne is usually cited as the first on-screen singing cowboy, struggling to bring to life the character of Singin' Sandy in Riders of Destiny (1933) and setting the basic premiss for each of the musical horse operas that were to follow: white-stetsoned good guy rides into town, overcomes adversity and resident bad guy whilst carrying a tune and winning the girl.

By the decade's end, Wayne had been succeeded by a string of others, two of whom, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, proved amongst the biggest box- office draws of the era. If Eddie Dean never quite made it into that league, he can lay claim to having been the finest vocalist in the genre, a talent that gained him the nickname "The Golden Voice".

He was born Edgar Dean Glosup, the seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son, in Posey, Texas. His schoolteacher father instilled in him a love of singing and he began his career performing gospel music, first with the Vaughan and then the Stamps Quartets. He eventually joined his brother Jimmy in Chicago, where they worked as a duet team on the famous WLS National Barn Dance before moving on to station WNAX which broadcast out of Yankton, South Dakota.

In 1934 and 1935 they cut a series of duets for ARC and Decca, though none were particularly successful. A return to Chicago saw the pair get involved in radio soap opera until, in 1937, they headed south-west to California. Supporting roles in the films of both Ken Maynard and Gene Autry quickly followed, as did radio work with the hillbilly comedienne Judy Canova.

From 1946, Dean received top billing on a series of some 20 low-budget films made for the PRC studio, starting with The Harmony Trail. Showcases for Bill Crespinel's new colour film process, Cinecolor, they were among the first colour movies of their type. Starring alongside leading ladies like Shirley Patterson and Jennifer Holt, Dean both wrote and performed the numbers featured in these largely forgotten pictures. They included Colorado Serenade and The Caravan Trail (both 1946), West To Glory (1947) and The Hawk of Powder River (1948). He often found himself accompanied by the western harmony group Andy Parker and the Plainsmen.

In 1948, the year of his last PRC film, Dean enjoyed his greatest success as a songwriter when his fellow singing cowboy Jimmy Wakely took "One Has My Name, the Other Has My Heart" to the top of both the pop and country charts. Co-written by Dean with his wife, "Dearest", and a fellow tunesmith, Hal Blair, it proved an early and durable example of the "cheatin' " song and was covered magnificently by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1969.

Over the years Dean recorded for a number of record labels including Decca, Majestic, Mercury, Crystal, Sage and Sand, Shasta (owned by Jimmy Wakely) and Capitol. If few of his own recordings charted, the superb "On the Banks of the Sunny San Juan" (1941) and his "I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven" (1955) remain classics.

Dean later became a mainstay of the western festivals that proliferate throughout the south-western United States and in 1993 was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame, his voice still a reportedly rich and supple instrument into its ninth decade.

Paul Wadey

Edgar Dean Glosup (Eddie Dean), singer, songwriter, actor: born Posey, Texas 9 July 1907; married 1931 Lorene Donnelly (one son, one daughter); died Newhall, California 4 March 1999.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Arts & Entertainment
Rory Kinnear in his Olivier-winning role as Iago in Othello

Oliviers 2014Actor beat Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to take the award
Arts & Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for this roles in Sherlock and Star Trek
TV

Arts & Entertainment
theatreAll hail the temporary venue that has shaken things up at the National Theatre
Arts & Entertainment
musicShe is candid, comic and coming our way
Arts & Entertainment
booksHer new novel is about people seeking where they belong
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

    Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

    Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
    Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

    Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

    The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
    Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

    Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

    The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
    Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

    Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

    This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
    Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

    Education: Secret of Taunton's success

    Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
    10 best smartphones

    10 best smartphones

    With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal