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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tomorrow (17th) it's five years since the death of country singer and songwriter (and pioneering recording artist) Don Gibson. This is the brief entry for him in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia:

Gibson, Don [1928 - 2003]
Donald Eugene Gibson was born in Shelby, North Carolina on April 3, 1928. He was one of Chet Atkins’ protégés at RCA Victor in Nashville and a regular on the Tennessee Barn Dance (on WNOX Radio, Knoxville). He first recorded in 1949 and 1952, wrote ‘Sweet Dreams’ in 1955, and in 1957 recorded ‘Oh Lonesome Me’, on which he and Atkins omitted the usual steel guitar and fiddle, to offer a new sound featuring only guitars, piano, drums, upright bass and (rather obtrusive) backing singers. This pioneered what became known as the Nashville Sound (and gave Gibson a no.1 hit).

A prolific and affecting songwriter as well as a singer, his best-known, most-covered song is ‘I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ (recorded by over 700 people, among them RAY CHARLES, whose version topped the charts and sold a million). ‘Sea Of Heartbreak’ was among several countrified pop hits he had himself in the US and UK charts 1959-1963. Others included ‘It’s Too Soon To Know’, ‘Lonesome Number One’, ‘Oh Lonesome Me’ (revived by NEIL YOUNG), ‘Sweet Dreams’ (first a success by Patsy Cline but revived exquisitely by Don Everly in 1971 on the brilliant solo album Don Everly), and ‘(I’d Be A) Legend In My Time’. In 1989, Dylan performed ‘(I’d Be A) Legend In My Time’ at three concerts.

Don Gibson died November 17, 2003, aged 75.

[Don Gibson: ‘Oh Lonesome Me’ c/w ‘I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’, Nashville nia, RCA Victor 474-4133, 1957; ‘Sea of Heartbreak’, Nashville, nia, RCA Victor 47-7890, 1961; ‘It’s Too Soon To Know’, Nashville, nia, RCA Victor 47-7010, 1957; ‘Lonesome Number One’, Nashville, nia, 47-7959, 1961. Don Everly: Don Everly, Ode SP-77005, LA (A&M AMLS 2007, London), 1971. Bob Dylan: ‘(I’d Be A) Legend In My Time’, Columbia MD, 19 Jul; Atlantic City, 20 Jul; & Saratoga Springs NY, 26 Jul 1989.]


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