Continuing my series of these articles I often pondered WHO should be number 14? And WHY?
After I finish my past list of members I’ll tell you WHO and WHY.
Number 14 is Johnny Russell.
John Bright Russell was born in Moorehead Mississippi January 23rd 1940 and was a singer, songwriter
and MOST OF ALL Comedian!
He was ALWAYS known for telling FUNNY and clean jokes and jokes about his weight…he was a big man.
I remember him coming out on the Opry stage and saying “Can Everybody See Me OK?”
His first published and cut hit was “In A Mansion Stands My Love” which was a 1960 B Side
to Gentleman Jim Reeve’s hit “Hell Have To Go”.
His only top ten hit was “Rednecks White Socks And Blue Ribbon Beer” which only went to
number 4 in 1973, however in his carreer he penned more songs than alot of people in his era.
A BIG THING HE DID Nobody really knows was HE WAS the FIRST one to record “He Stopped Loving Her
Today” but his label refused to release it.
He wrote “Let’s Fall To Pieces Together” for George Strait and “Act Naturally” for Buck Owens.
As I recall starting in 2001 his health began to rapidly decline, and he was appearing on the Opry
less and less. He developed many complications from diabetes and in the spring of 2001 they
had to amputate his legs.
He joked and laughed with doctors and nurses alike and was smiling and laughing all the way
through his “setback” as he called it.
I absolutely adored that man and I did get to go see him before he died july 3rd 2001.
The saddest thing I EVER saw was his trademark sailor hat on a barstool placed on the
beloved circle of wood on the Opry stage.
I have his obituary framed in my home.