Jim Reeves stands as one of the most distinctive singers in the history of country music.  His smooth, warm baritone was a major component of the sophisticated, "Nashville sound" that emerged during the late 1950's and early 1960's.

James Travis Reeves was the youngest of nine children.  His father died when Jim was still a baby.  Reeves was born in Galloway, Texas, a community near Carthage in 1923.  Reeves won a baseball scholarship to the University of Texas in Austin, he quit to volunteer for military service in World War II and became a welder after failing the physical.  He continued to play baseball in the minor leagues till 1947. He then landed announcer jobs on several East Texas radio stations.

His music career began in Earnest when he signed with Abbott records in 1952.  Early success with "Mexican Joe" helped him move up to the 50,000 watt KWKH radio in Shreveport, Louisanna.  From there he graduated to the Grand Ole Opry, joining in October 1955 on the strength of early hits on RCA.  The song, "Four Walls," a number one country and number 11 pop hit.  Between 1957 and 1958, Reeves had his own pop radio show, fed from WSM to the ABC radio network.  He went to record several number one country hits; "He'll Have to Go," "Distant Dreams," "Is It Really Over," number two charted song, "Welcome to my World" and "Bimbo."

On July 31, 1964 Reeves and his business partner and manager Dean Manuel with Reeves at the controls of a small aircraft, encountered a violent thunderstorm  on their way to Nashville, TN.  Over Brentwood, Tennessee, the plane crashed July 31, 1964.  Coincidentally, both Reeves and Randy Hughes, the pilot of Pasty Cline's ill fated airplane, were trained by the same instructor.

Join me Sunday morning at 11 AM for the music and life of Jim Reeves on the Country Classic Spotlight.  Its a segment of the 98 Country Classic show 9 AM to 1 PM every Sunday on 98.1 FM 98 Country.