28 October 1934, Two Harbors, Minnesota, USA. As a child Western lived in rural areas of the northernmost states where his father worked for the New Deals Civilian Conservation Corps. He took a very early interest in cowboy songs, owing in large part to seeing singing cowboy films while still at an impressionable age. At the start of his teenage years he was playing guitar semi-professionally, having only taken up the instrument very recently. Before he was 16 he appeared daily on a local radio, singing and working as a disc jockey on a country music show. Next, he moved into television, secured a recording contract with a small independent label, and played concerts in and around his Minnesota home. In the mid-50s, in Hollywood, he tried unsuccessfully to break into films but did get a job playing in the band of Gene Autrey, one of his childhood influences. He played small roles in a few Western feature films and television Westerns. One of the latter was...