Charlie McCoy

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Charlie McCoy
Charlie McCoy03.JPG
Background information
Birth nameCharles Ray McCoy
Born(1941-03-28) March 28, 1941 (age 72)
OriginOak Hill, West Virginia, USA
GenresCountry
Occupationssinger, musician
InstrumentsVocals, harmonica, guitar, bass guitar, drums
Years active1961–present
LabelsMonument, Step One, Koch
Associated actsBob Dylan, Area Code 615, Barefoot Jerry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash
 
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Charlie McCoy
Charlie McCoy03.JPG
Background information
Birth nameCharles Ray McCoy
Born(1941-03-28) March 28, 1941 (age 72)
OriginOak Hill, West Virginia, USA
GenresCountry
Occupationssinger, musician
InstrumentsVocals, harmonica, guitar, bass guitar, drums
Years active1961–present
LabelsMonument, Step One, Koch
Associated actsBob Dylan, Area Code 615, Barefoot Jerry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash

Charles Ray "Charlie" McCoy (born March 28, 1941 in Oak Hill, West Virginia) is an American session musician noted for his work on a wide variety of instruments. In his career, McCoy has backed several notable musicians including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Astor, Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins and Ween. He has also recorded thirty-seven studio albums, including fourteen for Monument Records. Thirteen of his singles have entered the Billboard country charts. He was a member of Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry.

Biography[edit]

Born Charles Ray McCoy, his family moved to nearby Fayetteville when he was a boy and then to Miami, Florida. At age eight, he began playing the harmonica and the guitar and later, in his teens, he also learned to play the bass and trumpet. In high school in Miami his skills had developed to such an extent that he decided to pursue a career in music. He joined a local rock and roll band as guitarist and singer. When he was sixteen years old he reluctantly accompanied a friend to visit a country barn dance radio show in Miami called the "Old South Jamboree". Upon their arrival, McCoy's friend left him in the crowd and went to talk to Happy Harold, the host of the show, with the intention of coaxing McCoy up on stage to sing. McCoy's performance that night, along with the positive response from the show's audience, led to him and his rock band being signed to the Old South Jamboree. His band consisted of Donny Lytle, later known as Johnny Paycheck, on bass; Bill Johnson on steel-guitar; Charlie Justice on guitar; and Bill Phillips, vocal. About this time the band took part in a local rock and roll contest winning first prize. Following an invitation from Mel Tillis, the eighteen-year-old McCoy went to Nashville, Tennessee for a week's stay in 1959. During his stay in Nashville he visited numerous producers and record companies but all to no avail. Since his efforts to start a musical career in Nashville had failed he went back to Miami. He enrolled at the Miami University[citation needed] majoring in musical education. His goal was now to become a teacher. Meanwhile he continued to perform on the "Jamboree". When Miami faculty members discovered that he was playing rock and roll for a square dance they warned him to continue with this "lower forms of music". McCoy replied that he was willing to quit his work at the barn dance if they would give him a scholarship. The faculty rejected his request.[1]

McCoy, who still wanted to make a career in music, applied for the vacant job as guitarist in John Ferguson's band. But when he arrived in Nashville, due to some misunderstanding, his job was already taken by guitarist Vance Bullock. After a short discussion Ferguson decided to hire McCoy as a drummer instead. McCoy bought a drum set and joined the band. John Ferguson's band was unsuccessful and shortly they disbanded.[1] After a month of unemployment he joined Stonewall Jackson as a drummer. The job came to an end in the autumn that year. Then he received a call from the booking agent Jim Denney who informed him that Archie Bleyer of Cadence Records had listened to McCoy's tapes and wanted to sign him. McCoy cut his first single for the Cadence label and "Cherri Berri Wine" reached No. 99 in the Billboard chart. In Nashville, Denney gave him the advice to do demo sessions and to concentrate on the harmonica. Next, McCoy joined Wayne Moss as a bass player performing at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.[2]

Chet Atkins heard one of McCoy's demo tapes and immediately hired him in May 1961. Thus, his first recording as a harmonica player was on a song, "I Just Don't Understand", by Ann-Margret for RCA.[3] Fred Foster of Monument Records also heard about McCoy and hired him as harmonica player on Roy Orbison's song "Candy Man". It became a million-seller. McCoy's reputation as harmonica player and studio musician increased. McCoy continued to record for the Monument label without a written contract. Although some of his singles and albums at this time did not sell, Foster believed in McCoy's music.[2] Tex Davis, the promotion manager of Monument Records, was persuaded by Charlie Dillard of WPFA to release "Today I Started Loving You Again" as a single. It had previously been released on McCoy's second LP. When the single came out in 1972 it sold 750 000 copies.[4] The single went to No. 16 in the Billboard country charts.[5] For his next album, "The Real McCoy", he won a grammy from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His album "Good Time Charlie" reached No. 1 in the Billboard country chart. In the 1970s, McCoy, as a studio musician, took part in more than 400 sessions a year.[4] He has won 2 CMA Awards and 7 ACM Awards.

From there, he went on to play harmonica for other acts, Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Kris Kristofferson, Paul Simon, Ringo Starr, Barefoot Jerry, "Gene Summers In Nashville" LP and Ween.[5] He also played guitar on Dylan's "Desolation Row", from the album Highway 61 Revisited, and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands", from the album Blonde on Blonde,) bass guitar (on all the tracks from Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding,) keyboards, and drums plus on several wind and brass instruments. For 19 years McCoy worked as music director for the popular television show, Hee Haw, and was a member of the Million Dollar Band.

On May 17, 2009, Charlie was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with Roy Clark and Barbara Mandrell.[6] He is also a member of the International Musicians' Hall of Fame, and the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Charlie has two children with his first wife, and five grandchildren. All of his grandchildren have contributed to one of his albums in some way. His second granddaughter did the artwork for one of the albums covers (Somewhere Over The Rainbow) and sang on one of his Christmas CDs. His oldest granddaughter has played flute and sang on a few of his albums. All of the youngest three kids have sung on one of his albums, as has his son (Charlie, Jr.) and daughter (Ginger).

Television[edit]

Television Appearances as an Artist[edit]

Television Shows as a Music Director[edit]

[7] [8]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

YearAlbumUS CountryUSLabel
1967The WorldMonument
1972The Real McCoy298
Charlie McCoy7120
1973Good Time Charlie1155
The Fastest Harp in the South2213
1974The Nashville Hit Man13
Christmas with Charlie
1975Charlie My Boy36
Harpin' the Blues34
1976Play It Again Charlie48
1977Country Cookin MG 7612'
Stone Fox Chase
1978Greatest Hits
1979Appalachian Fever
198813thStep One
1989Beam Me Up Charlie
1992Appalachian Fever
1995American RootsKoch

Singles[edit]

YearSongChart PositionsAlbum
US CountryUS
[9]
CAN Country
1961"Cherry Berry Wine"99single only
1972"Today I Started Loving You Again"1613The Real McCoy
"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"2321Charlie McCoy
"I Really Don't Want to Know"1919
1973"Orange Blossom Special"2610124Good Time Charlie
"Shenandoah"3337
"Release Me"3355Fastest Harp in the South
1974"Silver Threads and Golden Needles"68The Nashville Hit Man
"Boogie Woogie" (with Barefoot Jerry)2224
"I Can't Help It"
"Blue Christmas"Christmas with Charlie
1975"Everybody Stand Up and Holler for the Union"Charlie My Boy
"Juke"
"Pots and Pans"Play It Again Charlie
"Columbus Stockade Blues"Harpin' the Blues
1976"Wabash Cannonball"97Play It Again Charlie
1977"Summit Ridge Drive" (with Barefoot Jerry)98
"Amazing Grace"Country Cookin'
"Foggy River"
1978"Fair and Tender Ladies"3035Appalachian Fever
"Drifting Lovers"96
1979"Midnight Flyer"94
"Ramblin' Music Man"94
1981"Until the Nights" (with Laney Smallwood)94singles only
1983"The State of Our Union" (with Laney Smallwood as Laney Hicks)74
1989"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (re-recording)13th
1990"One O'Clock Jump"

References[edit]

http://www.nashvillesound.net/current/ateam.htm

  1. ^ a b Billboard 21 December 1974, His Monumental Ten Years by Bill Williams, Nielsen Business Media, page 39
  2. ^ a b Billboard 21 December 1974, His Monumental Ten Years by Bill Williams, Nielsen Business Media, page 41
  3. ^ Kosser, p. 101.
  4. ^ a b Billboard 21 December 1974, His Monumental Ten Years by Bill Williams, Nielsen Business Media, page 44
  5. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Charlie McCoy biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  6. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090204/en_nm/us_country_1
  7. ^ http://www.charliemccoy.com/tvcredits.html
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1357829/
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 584. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.