Roy Horton

Champion of country music

Roy Horton, music publisher: born Broad Top, Pennsylvania 5 November 1914; married (one son, one daughter); died Manchester, Connecticut 23 September 2003.

Roy Horton played a vital role in the popularisation of country music. As a longtime publishing executive he championed some of the genre's most important writers. Latterly he became a leading figure in the industry's most influential professional body, the Country Music Association.

Born in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, he looked set to spend his life working in the coalmines. The draw of music, however, was too strong and, having learned to play the upright bass, he and his guitar-playing brother Vaughn formed a hillbilly group that they took to New York in 1935. Known as the Pinetoppers and fronted by a pair of female vocalists billed as the Beaver Valley Sweethearts, the band appeared on local radio and cut several records, one of which, "Mockin' Bird Hill" became both a country and pop hit in 1950.

During the mid-Forties, Horton joined Ralph Peer's Southern Music Publishing Company, formed by Peer in 1928 to meet the demand for hillbilly songs. Starting with Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter family, the organisation went on to sign major country writers such as Jimmie Davis, Lefty Frizzell, Bill Monroe and Floyd Tillman, and it became Horton's job to promote them.

His long-cherished idea of creating an album featuring some of the best material from the Peer catalogue came to fruition in the 1990s. Believing that Merle Haggard was the ideal performer for such a project, he organised a series of recording dates in Nashville and at Haggard's Californian ranch resulting in The Peer Sessions, released in 2002. In addition to featuring fine renditions of standards such as "Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia" and "It Makes No Difference Now", the album boasts a unique version of "Hang on to the Memories" on which Haggard is joined by the centenarian country and gospel legend Jimmie Davis.

The Country Music Association was formed, in 1958, to preserve and to market the genre at a time when its existence faced a very real threat from rock'n'roll. Horton eventually became its chairman. During the early 1960s, he became one of the most vocal proponents of a Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, intended to celebrate the music's greatest figures whilst serving, through its displays of memorabilia, as a focus for Nashville tourism. The project was completed in 1967 and Horton cut the ribbon at its opening ceremony.

In 1982 he himself was finally inducted into the hall's ranks.

Paul Wadey

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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 apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Electrical Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Long term contract role - Electrical Pro...

Product Support Engineer - Mechanical

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: You will be working with the support pro...

SENIOR SAP FICO CONSULTANT

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SENIOR SAP FICO...

2nd Line Application Support Analyst

£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: This is a...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice