Grand Ole Opry star Jack Greene passed away peacefully in his sleep last night at his Nashville home, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Greene had been a member of the Opry since 1967 and was 83 years old. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time but will be posted on opry.com when they are available.
Jack was born and raised in Maryville, TN and began his career at age 17 working in radio in Maryville and Knoxville. In the 1950s he moved to Atlanta, GA, where he formed his first band, The Peach Tree Cowboys. He moved back to Tennessee in 1962 and was enlisted by Ernest Tubb to join his band, The Texas Troubadours, as drummer. Jack’s skills as a vocalist and guitarist soon thrust him into the spotlight and he began opening shows for Ernest. In 1964, Jack released his first solo single, “The Last Letter.” Ernest encouraged him to pursue a solo career and he signed with Decca Records. His first Top 40 hit was in 1966 with “Ever Since My Baby Went Away.” Later that year, “There Goes My Everything” was released and became a huge hit, holding the No. 1 spot on the country chart for seven weeks and the There Goes My Everything album held the No. 1 chart position for a full year. In 1967 Jack swept the inaugural Country Music Association Awards by winning Male Vocalist of the Year as well as Album, Song, and Single of the Year for “There Goes My Everything.” He was the first country performer to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1967.
In 1970, Jack partnered with his fellow Opry member Jeannie Seely and they formed one of country music’s most successful duos as he also continued his solo career. The Associated Press once called Jack “the Garth Brooks of his era” and Garth demanded a retraction that they instead say Garth was “the Jack Greene of his era.” Billboard magazine has recognized him as one of the Top 100 “Most Played Artists” of the last 40 years. Jack was honored with a congratulatory message from President George Bush that was read at his 40th anniversary as an Opry member. In 2010 Jack released his last album – Precious Memories, Treasured Friends, a collection of duets with some of his friends.
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