TRIBUTES have been paid to the country singer George Hamilton IV who has passed away at the age of 77.
Born in North Carolina, Mr. Hamilton had first enjoyed success as a pop singer in the mid-1950s when he had a hit with A Rose and a Baby Ruth. During this period he toured with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers.
He turned to country music under the guidance of mentor Chet Atkins, the musician and producer, and by 1960 he was a member of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Early country hits included Before This Day Ends, To You and Yours (From Me and Mine) and If You Don’t Know I Ain’t Gonna Tell You. In 1963, he had his biggest hit with Abilene (see below). Another popular recording was Canadian Pacific in 1969 (see below).
Over the years, Mr. Hamilton performed extensively across the world — including being the first country singer to tour in the old USSR — earning him the title of country music’s international ambassador.
In later years, he had turned more to gospel music, appearing regularly at rallies organised by the evangelist Billy Graham.
For a long period in the 1990s he filled the role of narrator in the hit musical Patsy Cline: The Musical, including when the production was staged in London’s West End.
Mr. Hamilton continued performing right up until shortly before his death in Nashville from a heart attack.
He is survived by his wife Tinky and children Mary, Peyton and George V (see below).
To see George Hamilton IV performing Abilene, click here.
To listen to an excerpt from Canadian Pacific, click here.
To view an archive interview with Mr. Hamilton, click here.
To see George Hamilton IV appearing alongside his son George V, click here.
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