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‘Wolverton Mountain’ Singer Claude King Dead

Claude King
Columbia Records

Claude King had just celebrated his 90th birthday and 67th wedding anniversary to his wife Barbara before he died Thursday morning (March 7) at his home in Shreveport, La. The ‘Wolverton Mountain’ hitmaker leaves behind a legacy that includes many other Top 10 hits, as well as memories for early fans of the Louisiana Hayride.

‘Wolverton Mountain’ from 1962 was King’s only chart-topper and crossover hit, but during a multi-decade career that he strung together a number of Top 10 country songs, like ‘Big River, Big Man,’ ‘The Burning of Atlanta’ and ‘Tiger Woman.’ He remained active throughout the ’60s and ’70s, with ‘Cotton Dan’ from 1977 marking his final appearance on the country charts. He then went on to an acting career that included roles in movies like ‘Swamp Girl’ and ‘Year of the Wahoo,’ according to CMT.

King was one of the original members of the Louisiana Hayride, a Saturday night show that birthed the career of Elvis Presley. He is remembered as a talented guitarist and wordsmith, one who had a real feel for how to work out a great melody.

The native Louisianian was content to play the Hayride until he signed with Columbia Records in 1961. Previously he’d been interested in sports, even going to college on a baseball scholarship. In the ’40s and ’50s he performed locally until meeting Tillman Franks, Johnny Horton’s manager and a talent agent for the Hayride.

In addition to his wife, King leaves behind children, including his oldest son, Duane, who found him unresponsive in bed on Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press.

Next: See Other Country Artists Who've Died in 2013 >>

Listen to Claude King, ‘Wolverton Mountain’

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