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James Kenneth "Kenny" Price (May 27, 1931 - August 4, 1987) was a singer, songwriter, and actor. Nicknamed the "Round Mound of Sound," Price recorded for the Boone and RCA Victor, MRC and Dimension record labels, charting thirty-four singles on the Hot Country Songs charts between 1966 and 1980. His highest-peaking singles, "Walking on New Grass" and "Happy Tracks," both reached No. 7 on that chart.
Price was born in Florence, Kentucky and raised on a farm in Boone County, Kentucky. He learned to play guitar when he was five years old. At age 14, he started playing live music for WZIP in Covington, Kentucky. From 1952 until 1954, Price served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, reaching the rank of corporal. While stationed in Korea, he auditioned for a USO show, and before being discharged, he had decided to become a professional musician. He studied for a brief time at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and became a musician on Midwestern Hayride on WLWT, eventually taking over as the show's host until it went off the air in the early 1970s.
He first recorded for Boone Records, then moved on to RCA in 1969, where he stayed until 1976. For most of his career, Price worked with Ray Pennington, whose style complemented his own. Price had 34 singles chart in his career, including "Walking on the New Grass" (a top 10 hit in 1966), "Happy Tracks", "Northeast Arkansas Mississippi County Bootlegger" (a top 20 hit in 1969), and "The Sheriff of Boone County" (a pop crossover that hit the top 10). His novelty number "(This Is) The Shortest Song in the World", written with record producer Ronny Light, enjoyed some airplay after its release on album in 1970.
Standing six feet tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds for most of his professional career, he was nicknamed "The Round Mound of Sound". Many of his comedic songs made reference to his size—"The Heavyweight" is an obvious example. In later years Price became significantly thinner and lampooned himself in the song "The Boone County Weight Watchers of America".
In 1976 Price relocated to Nashville and became a regular on the television variety show Hee Haw. (He remained with the show until his death). He served as the bass vocalist for the beloved Hee Haw Gospel Quartet, which included Grandpa Jones, Buck Owens, and Roy Clark. Price and fellow Hee Haw cast member Lulu Roman got their own short-lived spin-off series called Hee Haw Honeys, which ran from 1978-79. Price and Roman guest starred on two episodes of The Love Boat. He later had a small role in the film Cold Justice, which was released after his death.
His wife, Donna Price, wrote a few memorable tunes for him, including the hit "Let's Truck Together". In the mid-1980s, Kenny and Donna starred in The Nashville Network (now Spike) travelogue series called Wish You Were Here, where they traveled across the United States in a RV and visited places of interest.
Price died of heart failure in 1987, and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Erlanger, Kentucky.
|1967||One Hit Follows Another||36||Boone|
|Northeast Arkansas Mississippi County Bootlegger||—|
|1971||A Red Foley Songbook||—|
|The Sheriff of Boone County||42|
|You Almost Slipped My Mind||37|
|1973||Sea of Heartbreak||—|
|30 California Women||—|
|1974||Turn On Your Light and Let It Shine||—|
|1977||Heavy Duty Country||—||MRC|
|1980||The Best of Both||—||Dimension|
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1964||"Low and Lonely"||—||—||singles only|
|1965||"White Silver Sands"||—||—|
|"That's All That Matters"||—||—||One Hit Follows Another|
|1966||"Walking On New Grass"||7||—|
|"Pretty Girl, Pretty Clothes, Pretty Sad"||26||—||single only|
|"Grass Won't Grow On a Busy Street"||24||—||Southern Bound|
|1968||"My Goal for Today"||11||—|
|"Going Home for the Last Time"||31||—|
|"It Don't Mean a Thing to Me"||59||—|
|1969||"Who Do I Know in Dallas"||64||—||Heavyweight|
|"Atlanta Georgia Stray"||62||—|
|1970||"Northeast Arkansas Mississippi County Bootlegger"||17||6||Northeast Arkansas Mississippi County Bootlegger|
|"Biloxi"||10||19||The Sheriff of Boone County|
|1971||"The Sheriff of Boone County"A||8||9|
|"Tell Her You Love Her"||55||—|
|"Charlotte Fever"||38||—||Charlotte Fever|
|"You Almost Slipped My Mind"||44||—||You Almost Slipped My Mind|
|"Sea of Heartbreak"||24||13||Sea of Heartbreak|
|1973||"Don't Tell Me Your Troubles"||53||63|
|"30 California Women"||52||56||30 California Women|
|"You're Wearin' Me Down"||52||—||single only|
|1974||"Turn On Your Light (And Let It Shine)"||29||40||Turn On Your Light and Let It Shine|
|"Let's Truck Together"||42||—||Heavy Duty Country|
|1975||"Easy Look"||67||—||singles only|
|"Birds and Children Fly Away"||65||—|
|"I've Changed Since I've Been Unchained"||—||—|
|1976||"Too Big a Price to Pay"||60||—|
|1977||"I'd Buy You Chattanooga"||60||—||Heavy Duty Country|
|1978||"Afraid You'd Come Back"||50||—||singles only|
|1979||"Hey There"||67||—||The Best of Both|
|1980||"Well Rounded Traveling Man"||60||—|
|"She's Leavin' (And I'm Almost Gone)"||79||—|
|1984||"If I Just Had You"||—||—||singles only|
External links