Country star Claude King died this morning, according to the musician’s eldest son. Duane King confirmed today that the singer was discovered unresponsive at his home in Shreveport, Louisiana early Thursday morning.
Claude King was an accomplished singer and songwriter who spent the early part of his career rubbing elbows with some of music’s greatest legends. He is best known to country fans for his 1962 million-selling song “Wolverton Mountain,” written with Nashville veteran Merle Kilgore.
Born on February 5, 1923 in Louisiana, King reportedly bought his first guitar at the tender age of 12. While sports played a large role during his young adult years, the singer soon turned to music once again.
King became one of the original members of a local Saturday night radio program called the Louisiana Hayride.
The show’s success from 1948 through 1960 helped boost the careers of numerous icons from the American country and western music scene.
During his stint on Louisiana Hayride, Claude King shared the stage with such legendary performers as George Jones, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves.
Focusing on several country-related genres such as hillbilly, blues, and gospel, the show is credited as a stepping stone in the career of Elvis Presley.
In 1961, Claude King was signed to the Nashville division of Columbia Records where he released the songs “Big River, Big Man” and “The Comancheros.” Both songs climbed to positions in the top ten country music charts while also achieving success on the pop charts.
In 1962, Claude King recorded his most successful record, “Wolverton Mountain.” The song achieved gold status, selling in excess of one million copies.
It held steady in the number one position on Billboard’s country music charts for nine weeks. The song was a crossover success as well, reaching the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100.
You can listen to King’s hit “Wolverine Mountain” in the video below:
Claude King was a mainstay on the country music charts for more than a decade with hits like “Hey Lucille!,” “Catch a Little Raindrop” and “All For The Love Of A Girl.”
The singer-songwriter parted ways with Columbia shortly after the his final appearance on the charts in 1972. The musician left the record company with an impressive 29 hit songs to his credit.
Claude King died at the age of 90, leaving behind his wife, Barbara, and the couple’s children.