Don Wayne, ‘Country Bumpkin’ Songwriter, Dies at 78
Don Wayne, the man responsible for writing the 1974 smash hit ‘Country Bumpkin,’ died on Monday at his home in Nashville. According to The Tennessean, Wayne was suffering from cancer. He was 78 years old.
Wayne worked as a shipping clerk before getting his songwriting break when George Morgan cut ‘Lonesome Waltz’ in 1953. His songwriting career was punctuated by a stint in the Army. He was drafted in 1954 and exported to Germany, where he was stationed for 17 months. He still wrote songs and even did a solo recording in 1959.
However, when he signed with Tree Publishing in 1963, things changed career-wise. He worked on a tune called ‘Saginaw, Michigan’ (recorded by Lefty Frizzell), which was a songwriting success and topped the country charts. He hit a slow patch through the 1970s, failing to place songs due to the fact that he focused on rural topics in his compositions. A co-worker said something to the effect that “no one wants to hear about that frost on the pumpkin,” which went on to inspire his biggest hit, ‘Country Bumpkin,’ where he recycled that pumpkin line.
‘Country Bumpkin’ ended up as the CMA and ACM ‘Song of the Year’ when it was released back in 1973. Wayne, a Nashville native, was inducted in the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1978.
Wayne was hospitalized for some time before his death. Funeral arrangements were not available at press time.