Secret History: Blake Shelton’s Brother Died Too Soon, But What Happened?
A tragedy re-shaped Blake Shelton's childhood when his brother Richie was killed nearly 30 years ago, but did you know he wasn't alone in the car?
This episode of the The Secret History of Country Music explores the 1990 crash that killed 24-year-old Richie and two others, including a 3-year-old boy. The details of the crash are a reminder that accidents happen even when you're living right. It's hard to fault Shelton's brother or the driver of the car for anything other than not wearing a seatbelt — that was common in rural Oklahoma in 1990. In fact, seatbelt laws in the singer's home state were fairly new when the crash occurred.
Shelton started to talk about the accident and his brother many years later, eventually writing "Over You" with then-girlfriend Miranda Lambert. It became her hit song, however. Shelton rarely performed the tender ballad until he did so to tribute Troy Gentry after the Montgomery Gentry member was killed in a helicopter crash in 2017.
It's Richie Shelton's death that inspired the award-winning hit, and it's him that Shelton once spoke of as his hero.
"His bedroom was right across the hallway from mine when I was little," he told 60 Minutes in 2014. "And he was listening to Hank Williams Jr. or Waylon, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bob Seeger. I just, whatever was popular really, Richie loved all music. And I would be sitting there going, 'Man, that guy's my hero. That's the coolest guy. He's my big brother.'"
The Secret History of Country Music is a new weekly series hosted by Taste of Country News host Ania Hammar. We'll go deeper inside the stories of country music's biggest hits, moments and figures. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.
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