It’s mid August and another Country Classic Show starting at 9 am to 1 pm at 98.1 Minnesota’s New Country with a 100,000 watt boom stick, online or download our new 98.1 mobile app.  Today on the Country Classic Spotlight we’re featuring George Hamilton IV.

Hamilton had a smash number one hit in 1963.  Bob Gibson and John D Loudermilk penned this song; it’s about Abilene, Kansas, a railroad town -- not Abilene, Texas.  Hamilton performed around the world and became known as the “International Ambassador of Country Music.” He was the first country singer to appear in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. From the late 1960’s, Hamilton toured the UK and Ireland, many times.

When Hamilton started out, he was a pop singer switched to country in 1958. His only number one hit was “Abilene,” other hits include “Fort Worth, Dallas or Houston,” “Early Morning Rain” and “Steel Rail Blues.”  Until his later years of his life he was a regular at the Grand Ole Opry and in country shows throughout the US.

Hamilton had a heart attack on September 13, 2014 and died on September 17th at a hospital in Nashville.  On September 24, the Ryman Auditorium hosted a memorial service. He is survived by his wife, Tinky, daughter Mary, sons Peyton and George V who is also a singer and songwriter, and four grandchildren including George Hamilton VI.  George Hamilton IV, born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina July 19, 1937.

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