Lost Treasures: George Hamilton IV – “Abilene”

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Our Lost Treasure this week was released in 1963 on RCA.  George Hamilton IV’s biggest hit “Abilene” crossed over from the country charts to the pop Top 40 before his music took a turn from country to more of a folk music based sound in the later 60’s.  Born in North Carolina, his first single was written by John D Loudermilk & released on a local label & this was followed by some regional rockabilly records before Hamilton moved to Nashville to pursue a country music career.  He became a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry in 1960 & Chet Atkins signed him to RCA shortly after.  The hits began with 1961’s “Before This Day Ends” & “Abilene” was the successful follow-up.  During his late 60’s folk-country era he recorded songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, & Ray Griff.  His last Top 5 single came in 1970, with “She’s a Little Bit Country”. After his American chart success declined in the early 1970s, George Hamilton IV began touring the world, across the Soviet Union, Poland, Australia, the Middle East, and East Asia.  He also hosted TV shows in the UK & Canada during the 70’s.  In 2004, he recorded an acoustic gospel album which earned him an award for ‘Best Bluegrass album of the year’.  Until the very late years of his life, Hamilton was a regular at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville and in country shows throughout the U.S. and the UK. He mainly concentrated on gospel tours both at home and abroad.  In 2008, Hamilton released a parody of “Abilene” in the height of the soaring U.S. gas prices called “Gasoline”. The acoustic single featured “The Oil Spots” (a.k.a. the Moody Brothers & George Hamilton V) and became a hit with audiences during Hamilton’s Opry appearances.  He followed this with a gospel album in 2010 featuring an all-star cast of singers & players from country, bluegrass & gospel music genres. George Hamilton IV died in Nashville of a heart attack in 2014. Enjoy this country classic as we embark on a home centered weekend & thanks for pointing your browser our way!

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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