9 December 1938, Bossier City, Louisiana, USA, d. 30 November 1993, Bossier City, Louisiana, USA. Houstons forefathers included Sam Houston, who fought for Texas independence from Mexico, and the Civil War general Robert E. Lee. His parents were friends of 20s singer Gene Austin, who was his godfather and encouraged his talent. Houston made his debut on The Louisiana Hayride when aged only 12. He continued with his studies and, encouraged by his manager, Tillman Franks, made a one-off single for Sun Records in Memphis, Sherrys Lips/Miss Brown. In 1963 he was signed to Epic Records, who wanted to break into the country market. His first release, Mountain Of Love, made number 2 in the US country charts, and was followed by further hits including Livin In A House Of Love and Sweet, Sweet Judy. In 1966, a song partly written by his producer Billy Sherrill, Almost Persuaded, topped the US country charts and also made the Top 30. It established him as one of country musics top balladeers, and he had further country chart-toppers with With One Exception, My Elusive Dreams (a duet with Tammy Wynette), You Mean The World To Me, Have A Little Faith, Already In Heaven and Baby Baby (I Know Youre A Lady). He also appeared in the 1967 country film Cotton-Pickin Chicken Pluckers. He never repeated his success with Wynette and she says in her autobiography, Stand By Your Man, If he was the last singer on earth, Id never record with him again. However, Houston has recorded several successful duets with other singers, including I Love You, I Love You and After Closing Time, with Barbara Mandrell. His last Top 10 country success was with Cant You Feel It? in 1974, and when he left Epic, he recorded with seven other labels. During his career, Houston had seven number 1 country records and 61 chart entries, the last, A Penny For Your Thoughts Tonight Virginia, a minor hit on the Country International label in 1989. In 1991, he appeared in the UK at Wembleys International Festival of Country Music. Houston, who joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1972, made his last appearance on the show on 6 November 1993. He suffered a ruptured brain aneurism and remained in a coma until his death five days later. He is remembered by his country music associates for his knowledge of the music and its artists.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.