display | more...

C O U N T R Y   M U S I C   H A L L   O F   F A M E R      index | ⇐ last | next ⇒

“Ramblin' Red Foley” was one of country music's biggest stars; known for his Country Boogies, and Western swing. He sold over 25 million records in his carreer.

Clyde Julian “ Red ” Foley, was born June 1910 near Blue Lick, Kentucky. Red's interest in music began before he'd even started grade school, as he practiced the harmonica while spending time at his father's general store in Berea, Kentucky. Seeing his son's love for music, his father bought him his first guitar.

After winning a local talent contest that lead to a voice scholarship at Georgetown College, he was discovered by a WLS National Barn Dance scout. He joined John Lair's Cumberland Ridge Runners and helped develop the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. The song he wrote, and the first he recorded, “Old Shep,” is a country classic; it has been recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley and Hank Snow

After moving to Chicago, Foley co-starred on the Avalon Time radio show with comedian Red Skeleton. His film debut was the movie The Pioneers with fellow singer / actor Tex Ritter in 1941.

Red's first successful recording was the patriotic “Smoke on the Water” in 1944; this song spent 13 weeks at the top of the country charts and was a crossover hit reaching #7 on the POP charts. It's easy to see why this song, written during trouble times of war, struck a cord with many:
There will be a sad day comin' for the souls of all mankind
They must answer to the people, and it's troublin' their minds
Everybody who must fear them will rejoice on that great day
When the powers of dictators shall be taken all away.

There'll be smoke on the water, on the land and the sea
When our army and navy overtakes the enemy
There'll be smoke on the mountains where the heathen gods stay
And the sun that is risin' will go down on that day.

Red joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946, taking the place of Roy Acuff on the “ Prince Albert Show. ” He had a string of hits in the late 1940s and early 1950s, including 38 top 10 hits, many of which became country-pop crossover hits such as “Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy” and Goodnight Irene Red's hit recording of Peace in the Valley was the first to sell over a million copies on the gospel charts.

He was also the host of the The Ozark Jubilee a show which made stars out of many upcoming artists, including fellow Hall of Famer Porter Wagoner. Red was the first to use the legendary fellow hall of famers The Jordanaires as backup vocalists with the hit song “ Just A Closer Walk With Thee ” Red's last career move was television starring with Fess Parker in the series Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

One of Red's many goals was to make the genre more popular with 'middle American's and thus he made great strides in changing the term 'hillbilly music' to 'country music'

Red's personal life was filled with trouble: his first wife died in childbirth, his second wife committed suicide reportedly over his affair with a young lady who soon became his third wife. He struggled with drinking problems and depression problems which grew worse after his career had peeked. There are some upbeat notes to his personal life; his son-in-law is singer Pat Boone, and his grand daughter Debby Boone, went on to become a country & pop star in her own right.

Red became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967.

The Red Foley Memorial Music Award was established in 1970 in his honor.

Red won the Golden Voice Legacy award from The Golden Voice Awards in 2002.

Red died hours after performing the song “ Peace in the Valley ” while on tour in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I think him having song this as his last song is such a profoundly fitting end. A snippet from that famous last song:
Oh well, I’m tired and so weary
But I must go alone
Till the lord comes and calls, calls me away, oh yes
Well the morning's so bright
And the lamp is alight
And the night, night is as black as the sea, oh yes

There will be peace in the valley for me, some day
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me
After Red died, Hank Williams, Jr. (as Luke The Drifter, Jr.) wrote a touching tribute with his famous song “ I Was With Red Foley (The Night He Passed Away) ”. According to Hank in the song, Red's final words were 'I'm awful tired now, Hank, I've got to go to bed'

Red Foley
Rest In Peace

Red Foley's Discography:

Red Foley Souvenir Album ( 1951)
Lift Up Your Voice ( 1954)
My Keepsake Album ( 1958)
Beyond The Sunset ( 1958)
He Walks With Thee ( 1958)
Red Foley's Dickies Souvenir Album ( 1958)
Let's All Sing With Red Foley ( 1959)
Company's Comin' ( 1961)
Red Foley's Golden Favorites ( 1961)
Songs Of Devotion ( 1961)
Kitty Wells & Red Foley's Greatest Hits ( 1961)
Dear Hearts And Gentle People ( 1962)
The Red Foley Show ( 1963)
The Red Foley Story ( 1964)
Songs Everybody Knows ( 1965)
I'm Bound For The Kingdom (1965)
Red Foley (1966)
Songs For The Soul ( 1967)
Together Again ( 1967)
I Believe ( 1969)
The Old Master ( 1969)
Red Foley Memories ( 1971)
Beyond The Sunset ( 1981)
Songs of Devotion ( 1995)
Stay A Little Longer ( 2000)
Chattanoogie Shoeshine Boy(2002)


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.