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Clarence Eugene Snow
Hank Snow
December 20, 1999
Age 85
 
Heart Failure 
 
OBITUARY 
BIOGRAPHY  
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OBITUARY 
       
 
      
      NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Hank Snow, whose gaudy rhinestone suits and 
    million-selling hit song ``I'm Movin' On'' made him a country music legend for 
    more than 40 years, died today. He was 85. 

    Snow died shortly after 12:15 a.m. at his Nashville home, said his son, Jimmy 
    Snow. The cause of death was likely heart failure, but an autopsy will be 
    performed, he said. 

    Snow, known as ``the singing ranger'' because of his flamboyant cowboy attire, 
    was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979. 

    His self-penned ``I'm Movin' On'' was on the country music charts for almost a 
    year in 1950, including 21 weeks at No. 1. Other hits, many of which he wrote, 
    included ``I Don't Hurt Anymore,'' ``Golden Rocket,'' ``Music Makin' Mama From  
    Memphis,'' ``Rhumba Boogie'' and the humorous ``I've Been Everywhere,'' with 
    lyrics that string together a multitude of place names. 

    His heyday was between 1950 and 1965, but he performed regularly on the Grand 
    Ole Opry until the mid-1990s. 

    He recorded more than 40 songs that were in the top 10 of the country music 
    charts and sold an estimated 70 million records. He made several concert tours 
    overseas to perform for American troops, becoming one of country music's top 
    ambassadors. 

    He was only in his 20s when he became a leading country performer in his native 
    Canada. He was signed to a record contract in 1934, and his 45-year relationship 
    with RCA, from then until 1979, was said to be a record. 

    He moved to the United States in the mid-1940s and began singing on the Grand 
    Ole Opry regularly in 1950. He became a U.S. citizen in 1958. 

    His ``I'm Movin' On,'' about boarding a train to leave a wayward lover, was 
    recorded in 36 languages. 

    In the mid-1950s, Snow was a mentor to Elvis Presley just as Presley was 
    breaking into the music business. He made concert tours with him. Presley would 
    later cover ``I'm Movin' On,'' as would Ray Charles and many others. 

    Snow sang for American troops in Korea, Vietnam, Germany, France, Norway, Italy, 
    England and Japan. He said in a 1991 interview that his appearances for troops 
    were the highlight of his career. 

    ``This was a great experience, one that money couldn't buy. It was the most 
    important part of my life as far as entertaining is concerned.'' 

    He continued singing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry into his 80s. In August 
    1996, when he returned to the Opry stage after a seven-months absence due to ill 
    health, he got a standing ovation. 

    ``We have always been one big family here,'' he told the audience. ``Everybody 
    on the Opry came up and said how glad they were to see me back.'' 

    He said in February 1992 that his career had been full. 

    ``I've had about 140 albums released, and I've done everything I wanted to do.'' 

    In 1986, he was involved in a dispute with CBS-TV. He refused to appear on a TV 
    special saluting the Opry because he felt slighted when asked to sing only one 
    verse of ``I'm Movin' On.'' 

    He was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, on May 9, 1914. Leaving home at age 12, 
    he became a cabin boy on a freighter for four years. As a teen-ager, he used $30 
    in earnings from a two-week stint unloading salt from a ship to buy his first 
    guitar. His style was heavily influenced by the U.S. country singer Jimmie 
    Rodgers. 

    In the mid-1970s, Snow became interested in fighting child abuse and disclosed 
    that he had been abused by his stepfather. He organized benefit concerts and 
    formed a foundation for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. 

    Snow's son said his father had been in declining health for about three years. 
    He was released from a hospital about two weeks ago after treatment for 
    pneumonia. 

    ``My dad only had a fifth-grade education, but he was a remarkable person with a 
    remarkable drive to succeed,'' Jimmy Snow said. 

    ``He always had an insecurity about his lack of education, and he tried to 
    compensate for that.'' 

    Hank Snow once recalled a letter he received from a woman in England: ``It's 
    really sort of morbid, but she said her mother wanted to see me all her life. 
    And when she died, she made just one request: that a picture of me be put into 
    her casket. So somewhere in England, I'm in a casket.'' 

    Copyright © 1999 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.

Cdn. country legend Hank Snow dies

                                        By PAUL CANTIN 
                                    Senior Reporter, JAM! Showbiz 

                               Hank Snow, the Nova Scotia-born country icon 
                             whose song "I"m Movin' On" became an anthem 
                             to generations, died yesterday at The Rainbow 
                             Ranch, his longtime Nashville home. He was 85.  
                                
                              Born in the fishing village of Brooklyn, Snow's 
                             talent made him a mainstay of the Grand Old 
                             Opry, and he used his celebrity to become an 
                             outspoken advocate for the prevention of child 
                             abuse. But he'll be best remembered for "I'm 
                             Movin' On," which was recorded by stars like 
                             Ray Charles and Elvis Presley, and was most 
                             recently reinvented as an industrial-metal thrasher 
                             by Cape Breton fiddle iconoclast Ashley 
                             MacIsaac.  
                                
                              Snow recorded over 100 albums and sold over 
                             70 million records in his career and toured the 
                             world, including a lengthy stint entertaining troops 
                             stationed overseas.  
                                
                              Despite the high spirited sound of his music, 
                             Snow's early life was bleak. Born in 1914, his 
                             parents divorced when he was eight and he was 
                             forced to live with his grandparents, who beat 
                             him. He would often run away at night to see his 
                             mother and sleep in the train station to escape the 
                             abuse.  
                                
                              At 14, he found work as a deckhand on fishing 
                             schooners out of Lunenberg and saved up a 
                             couple of dollars to order a guitar from Eatons, 
                             then entertained at parties and developed a style 
                             similar to Jimmie Rodgers. He soon landed work 
                             at radio stations and began to tour cross-Canada. 

                                
                              In 1936, he made his first record and signed with 
                             the Bluebird label a contract that would continue 
                             through to his death, in what would be considered 
                             the longest-standing record deal in the business. 
                             By 1945, he was touring the U.S. as The Singing 
                             Ranger or The Yodelling Ranger, and brought his 
                             trained horse Shawnee along as part of the 
                             attraction.  
                                
                              By 1950, Ernest Tubb invited him on the Opry, 
                             where he wasn't a success until "I'm Movin' On," 
                             which became the biggest hit of that year and still 
                             holds the record for the longest spell at the top of 
                             the charts -- close to a full year.  
                                
                              With the proceeds from "I'm Movin' On," Snow, 
                             his wife Min and son Jimmie-Rodgers moved into 
                             the Rainbow Ranch outside Nashville, where they 
                             would spend the rest of their lives together.  
                                
                              In the early 1950s, Snow discovered a young 
                             singer from Memphis named Elvis Presley and 
                             took the rookie under his wing until his career 
                             took off. Aside from starting the Hank Snow 
                             Foundation for abused children and supporting 
                             foster children around the world, the singer also at 
                             barious times owned a music school in Nashville, 
                             a publishing house in New York and owned two 
                             radio stations.  
                                
                              Snow was elected to the Country Music Hall Of 
                             Fame in 1979, but also holds a spot in the 
                             Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country 
                             Music Hall Of Fame, the Nova Scotia Music Hall 
                             Of Fame and was voted Canada's top country 
                             performer 10 times. He also holds an honorary 
                             degree from St. Mary's University in Halifax.  
                                
                              A Hank Snow Country Music Centre in his 
                             honor was built in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and a 
                             birthday concert was scheduled there in May.   



                             From August 14, 1996  

                             Hank Snow returns 
                             to Nashville  

                              NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Canadian-born 
                             Hank Snow, an institution at the Grand Ole Opry, 
                             returned to a standing ovation here after being ill 
                             for seven months.   
                            "We have always been one big family here," 
                             Snow told the Opry audience Friday. "Everybody 
                             on the Opry came up and said how glad they 
                             were to see me back."  
                             Snow, 82, had been ill with a respiratory problem.  
                             Known as The Yodelling Ranger, Snow's hits 
                             include I'm Moving On and I've Been Everywhere.  
                             Snow was born in Liverpool, N.S., but moved to 
                             Nashville in the mid-1940s.  
 

 
NY TIMES
        
 Hank Snow, Country Music Star, Dies at 85

          By NEIL STRAUSS 

           Hank Snow, one of the most popular and prolific country stars of 
           the 1950s, died Monday at his home in Madison, Tenn. He was 85.  

          In his nearly 50-year recording career, Snow released some 140 albums 
          with more than 85 songs reaching the country charts. He was a masterful 
          songwriter with a clear, expressive baritone, and his biggest hits extolled 
          freedom, specifically the lure of traveling and the release from tortuous 
          love affairs, both often intertwined in the same song. As a composer, he 
          was a country and folk traditionalist with a broad palette, able to 
          incorporate everything from mambo to jazz without straying far from his 
          roots.  

          Snow's career was a classic case of music's triumph over extreme 
          hardship. He was born Clarence Eugene Snow in a small town in Nova 
          Scotia called Brooklyn. His parents separated when he was 8, sending 
          two of his siblings to an orphanage and subjecting him to the physical 
          abuse of his grandmother, whose house he ran away from to live with his 
          mother. There, his stepfather also abused him, eventually kicking the boy 
          out of the house when he was 12. (Later, Snow would record moving 
          songs of abused children, like "The Drunkard's Boy.") The 12-year-old 
          found work on fishing boats, where he entertained the rest of the crew by 
          singing. After a shipwreck four years later, he decided to stick to jobs on 
          dry land.  

          Influenced by the yodeling country blues of Jimmie Rodgers, Snow 
          eventually saved up enough money for a guitar. When he was 19, he was 
          booked to sing on a weekly radio show on the Halifax station CHNS 
          and soon began performing in local clubs, earning the nickname the 
          Yodeling Ranger and, later, as his voice deepened and he developed his 
          own style, the Singing Ranger. It was at CHNS that Snow changed his 
          first name after a radio announcer suggested that Hank sounded more 
          country than Clarence.  

          In 1936, Snow married Minnie Aaiders and signed his first record deal, 
          with the Canadian arm of RCA Victor. For the next 10 years, he 
          recorded some 90 songs, scoring hit after hit in Canada. But he had yet 
          to conquer America.  

          He moved briefly to Hollywood in the mid-1940s, where he sang his 
          songs of rambling and performed with his trick pony, trying to make it as 
          a movie cowboy. In 1948, he got his first break in America when he met 
          the country singer Ernest Tubb. Tubb helped put Snow on the Grand Ole 
          Opry, where he was introduced by Hank Williams.  

          But Snow's first Opry performance and recordings met with a lukewarm 
          response. As he was considering heading home to Canada, his single "I'm 
          Moving On," a rolling fiddle-heavy song of failed love and hitting the road 
          sung in Snow's striking baritone, began climbing the country charts until it 
          reached No. 1 It stayed there for 21 weeks, and Snow's career in 
          America was off. His follow-up songs, the similarly themed "The Golden 
          Rocket" and the hybrid "The Rhumba Boogie," also went to No. 1. 
          Soon, Snow was living in Nashville as an American citizen.  

          In 1954, Snow, a sharp businessman, met Col. Tom Parker, Elvis 
          Presley's future manager, and formed a booking company with him. And, 
          just as Tubb had done for him, Snow convinced the Grand Ole Opry to 
          book Elvis Presley in 1954. Presley later recorded music by Snow, as 
          did artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Les Paul and the Rolling Stones.  

          For most of the '50s and '60s, Snow cut his own path through country, 
          mixing it with Hawaiian sounds, Latin music, rockabilly and boogie 
          without ever alienating his past work or influences like Jimmie Rodgers 
          and Sons of the Pioneers. In 1966, he spent 18 days touring in Vietnam. 
          But as Nashville slicked up its sound with strings and heavy production, 
          Snow's career began to falter. In the '70s he formed the Hank Snow 
          Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse to provide abused children 
          with the assistance he never received. In 1979, he was inducted into the 
          Country Music Hall of Fame.  

          After recording for RCA Records for some 45 years, the label severed 
          tied with him in 1981. Angry at his treatment by the record label and the 
          roots-revoking sound of new Nashville, he nonetheless continued to 
          perform and published an autobiography, "The Hank Snow Story," in 
          1994. After battling respiratory illness in 1995, he returned to perform at 
          the Grand Ole Opry the following year, receiving a standing ovation.  

          Snow is survived by his son, Jimmie Rodgers Snow.  
 

 
 
 
       
 

OBITUARY
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BIOGRAPHY
 
 
All-Music Guide
 
Born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, on May 9, 1914
Died at his Nashville home, December 20, 1999
 
  Canada's greatest contribution to country music, Hank Snow was famous for his "travelling" songs. 
 It's no wonder. At age 12 he ran away from his Nova Scotia home and joined the Merchant 
 Marines, working as a cabin boy and laborer for four years. Once back on shore, he listened to 
 Jimmie Rodgers records and started playing in public, building up a following in Halifax. His original 
 nickname, the Yodelling Ranger, was modified to the Singing Ranger when his high voice changed to 
 the great baritone that graced his hit records. In 1950, the year he became an Opry regular, his 
 self-penned "I'm Moving On" (the first of his many great travelling songs) became a smash hit, 
 reaching number one and remaining their for 21 weeks. "Golden Rocket" (also 1950) and "I've Been  
 Everywhere" (1962), two other hits, show his life-long love for trains and travel. But he was as much 
 at home with two other styles, the ballad and the rhumba/boogie. Among his many great ballads are 
 "Bluebird Island" (with Anita Carter, of the Carter Family), "Fool Such as I," and "Hello, Love" a hit 
 when Snow was 60 years old. Snow appeared regularly on the Opry into the '90s, proving that his 
 incredible voice suffered no loss of quality over the last half-century, as well as what a tasteful, 
 understated guitar stylist he is. With small stature and huge voice, Snow is a country traditionalist 
 who has given much more to the business than he's taken. 

 Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Hank Snow (born Clarence Eugene Snow) moved in with his 
 grandmother when he was eight years old, following the divorce of his parents. Four years later, he 
 re-joined his mother when she re-married, but his stepfather was an abusive, violent man who 
 frequently beat Hank. Tired of the abuse, Snow ran away from home when he was 12 years old, 
 joining a fishing boat. For the next four years, he served as a cabin boy, often singing for the sailors 
 onboard. When he was 16, he returned home, where he began working odd jobs and trying to 
 launch a performing career. His mother had given him a stack of Jimmie Rodgers records which 
 inspired him greatly. Within a few weeks of hearing Rodgers, Snow ordered a cheap, mail-order 
 guitar and tried to learn his idol's trademark blue yodel. For the next few years, he sang around 
 Nova Scotia befrore finally mustering the courage to travel to Halifax in 1933. Snow landed a 
 weekly unpaid appearance on CHNS' Down on the Farm, where he was billed as both the 
 cowboy Blue Yodeller and Clarence Snow and His Guitar. The following year, CHNS' chief 
 annoucner Cecil Landry suggested to Snow that he should change his name to Hank, since it 
 sounded more Western. 

 Hank continued to perform in Halifax for the next three years, often struggling to get by. The severity 
 of the financial situation was compounded when he married Minnie Aaiders in 1936, but the couple 
 was soon relieved when he landed a regular paid program on the network Canadian Farm Hour, 
 billed as Hank the Yodelling Ranger. By the end of the year, Snow had signed a deal with 
 RCA-Victor's Montreal branch and recorded two original songs: "The Prisoned Cowboy" and 
 "Lonesome Blue Yodel." The songs were hits, beginning a string of Canadian-only hit singles that ran 
 for the next ten years; during that time, he recorded nearly 90 songs. In the early '40s, he had a 
 regular show on CBC, based in Montreal and New Brunswick. In 1944, he switched to CKCW in 
 New Brunswick. Around that time, he switched his stagename to Hank the Singing Ranger, since his 
 voice had deepened and he could no longer yodel. 

 Though he had become a star in Canada, the American market remained untapped. Snow tried to 
 break into the USA several times, playing The Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia, briefly moving 
 to Hollywood and performing concerts with his trick pony Shawnee, but he was having no luck 
 finding fans. The problem partially lies with the fact that he was trying to find an audience that wasn't 
 there, since most citizens were concentrating on World War II. Another stumbling block was RCA 
 Records themselves, who refused to let Hank release records in America until he was well-known in 
 the country. By 1948, Snow was singing on The Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, where he 
 befriended the honky tonk legend Ernest Tubb. ET pulled enough weight at the Grand Ole Opry to 
 get Hank a slot on the in early 1950, and by that time, RCA had agreed to record Snow for the 
 American audience. 

 Hank Snow's American debut single "Marriage Vow" became a minor hit at the end of 1949, but it 
 fell off the charts after a week. Similarly, his debut appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in January 
 was not well-received, prompting Hank to consider moving back to Canada. However, those ideas 
 were soon abandoned when his breakthrough arrived in the summer of 1950. That July, "I'm Moving  
 On" began its remarkable ascent up the charts, eventually landing at number one and staying there 
 for a full 21 weeks. In the year after the release of "I'm Moving On," "The Golden Rocket" and "The  
 Rhumba Boogie" both hit number one (the latter staying there for eight weeks), establishing Hank 
 Snow as a genuine star. Between 1951 and the end of 1955, Snow had a remarkable 24 Top Ten 
 hits, including the massive hit single "I Don't Hurt Anymore" which spent 20 weeks at number one in 
 1954. Snow not only played his trademark travelling songs, but also country-boogie, Hawaiian 
 music, rhumbas, and cowboys songs. By the middle of the decade, he was a star not only in the 
 United States and Canada, but throughout the world, gaining a particularly strong following over the 
 years in the United Kingdom. 

 Around 1954, Snow formed a booking agency with Colonel Tom Parker, who would later become 
 infamous for being Elvis Presley's manager. Indeed, Hank played a formative role in Presley's early 
 career, convincing the Grand Ole Opry to give the singer a chance in 1954. Though Elvis' 
 appearance at the Opry was ill-received, Snow continued to push Presley to move towards country 
 and Hank was quite upset when Parker took complete control of Elvis' management around 1955. 
 Still, Hank found a way to combat rock & roll -- he recorded some light rockabilly singles himself. 
 "Hula Rock" and "Rockin', Rollin' Ocean" were attempts to capture the beat of rock & roll, but 
 diluted with the rhumbas and boogie that made his singles hits during the early '50s. Though he was 
 experimenting with the new genre, he hadn't abandoned country and he continued to regularly chart 
 in the country Top Ten until 1965 with hits like "Big Wheels" (#7, 1958), "Miller's Cave" (#9, 1960), 
 "Beggar to a King (#5, 1961), "I've Been Everywhere (#1, 1962), and "Ninety Miles an Hour 
 (Down a Dead End Street)" (#2, 1963). 

 During the latter half of the '60s, Snow's career slowed down considerably, as he wasn't able to 
 make the transition to the new, heavily orchestrated country-pop sounds, nor was he able to keep 
 pace with the twangy roll of Bakersfield. Instead, his singles placed in the lower reaches of the 
 charts, while his concerts and Grand Ole Opry appearances continued to be quite popular. It wasn't 
 until 1974 that another monster hit arrived in the form of "Hello Love," which unexpectedly climbed 
 to number one. Instead of sparking a revival, "Hello Love" proved to be a last gasp; between its 
 release in 1974 and 1980, Hank had only two other Top 40 hits, which both arrived the same year 
 as "Hello Love." Despite his declining record sales, his profile remained high through his concerts and 
 several lifetime-achievement awards, including his induction to the Nashville Songwriters 
 International Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979. 

 In 1981, Hank Snow's recording career ended when RCA dropped him after a 45-year relationship. 
 Snow was very upset with the label's treatment of him, as well as the direction that country music 
 was taking, claiming that "80% of today's country music is a joke and not fit to listen to." He was 
 equally angry that country's roots were being diluted by pop and rock production values. Though he 
 never recorded again, Snow remained active in the Grand Ole Opry into the '90s, and he spent a lot 
 of time working for his Foundation for Child Abuse. In the late '80s, Bear Family began a lengthy 
 retrospective of several multi-disc box sets that chronicled his entire recording career. In 1994, 
 Snow published his autobiography, The Hank Snow Story. Late the following year, he was stricken 
 with a respiratory illness, yet he recovered in 1996, returing to the Grand Ole Opry in August of that 
 year. -- David Vinopal, All Music Guide

 
 
  
 
 

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