Some more sad news for music lovers out there, Texas-born country music legend Ray Price passed away on Monday at the age of 87. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Price, he penned country classics “Release Me”, “Crazy Arms”, “Heartaches by the Number”, “For the Good Times”, “Night Life” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”. Price was a consummate performer as well and continued to tour and record well into his eighties.
Price was born in Perryville, Texas and began singing for KRBC in Abilene, Texas in the late 1940s. He moved to Nashville in the early 1950s, and even shared a room, for a brief period, with the legendary Hank Williams. When Hank passed away, Price managed his band, the Drifting Cowboys and had some minor success in 1954 with the song “Release Me”.
In the early 50s, Price formed the Cherokee Cowboys, who boasted Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck and others as alumni. In fact, Roger Miller wrote one of Ray Price’s classics in 1958, “Invitation to the Blues”, and sang harmony on the recording. Willie Nelson also composed the song “Night Life”.
Throughout the 1950s, Ray Price largely became associated with the honky tong sound. He even developed what would be known as the “Ray Price Shuffle” which featured a 4/4 beat accompanied by a walking bassline, which can be famously heard on his 1956 classic “Crazy Arms.”