Faron Young (February 25, 1932 - December 10, 1996) was a country star, songwriter, producer, businessman, and actor with clear tenor vocals who became famous beginning in the early 1950s. Best known for the forlorn Willie Nelson-penned "Hello Walls" (1961), Young's many signature songs also included such upbeat honky-tonk staples as "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')" (1954), "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young" (1955), and "Alone With You" (1958), as well as "Country Girl" (1959), "It's Four In The Morning" (1971), and other classic country ballads.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Young grew up on a dairy farm and began performing in his teens. He launched his career in 1951 on country music's historic "Louisiana Hayride" (then broadcast on KWKH-AM Shreveport) working alongside honky-tonk great Webb Pierce. In 1952, Young signed with Capitol Records and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was drafted later that year into the U.S. Army during the Korean War where he performed for the troops and on army recruitment programs during his two-year service.
Faron Young hit the ground running in early 1953 with the Hank Williams-penned "Goin' Steady," which reached #2 on the Country charts. This smash was followed by several Top 10 hits that included "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')" (1954) before he topped the charts for the first time in 1955 with "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young." His very long string of hits, which continued through 1989, also included four other chart-toppers: "Alone With You" (1958), "Country Girl" (1959), "Hello Walls" (1961), and "It's Four In The Morning" (1971), all of which crossed over to the Pop/Rock charts. Young had his greatest Pop/Rock crossover success with "Hello Walls," which became a Top 20 hit and his signature song. Other Pop/Rock crossover favorites included "The Shrine Of St. Cecilia" (1957), "Riverboat" (1960), and "Backtrack" (1961).
First known as "The Hillbilly Heartthrob" and later as "The Singing Sheriff" after co-starring in "Hidden Guns" (1956), Faron Young also appeared in "Daniel Boone" (1956), "Raiders Of Old California" (1957), and several other Western films. He was also a businessman whose many successful ventures included founding the country music fan magazine, Music City News. In his later years, Young struggled with emphysema, which made it difficult to sing, and also battled prostate cancer. Depressed about his failing health, he died in 1996 at age 64 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
- The New York Times remembers country star Faron Young.
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- Hello Walls 1961
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