Join me at 11 a.m. on Sunday December 29th for the Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight featuring the late Ray Price.  The Country Classic Show kicks off every Sunday at 9 a.m.

Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price died Monday December 16, 2013 at age 87 after a year long battle with pancreatic cancer.  In February of this year the cancer appeared to be in remission, but then he was hospitalized in May with severe dehydration.  On December 2nd, Ray entered a hospital in the final stages of cancer.  He left the hospital 10 days later for home hospice care.

Ray was born near Perryville, Texas on January 12, 1926.  His mother and father split up when he was four years old.

He is considered one of country music's great innovators .  He changed the sound of country music from the late 1950's by developing a rhythmic brand of Honky-Tonk that has been hugely influential ever since.  In 1956, Crazy Arms shot to number one.  He added strings to country music which became known as the 'Nashville Sound.'

For the Good Times was written by Kris Kristofferson, who called Price the link from Hank Williams Sr. to country music today.  Hank Senior and Price were good friends.  Price started his own touring band called The Cherokee Cowboys in 1953 and gave a career kick start to many young musicians and songwriters.

Willie Nelson, Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran wrote for the publishing company of which Price was part owner called Pamper Music. Ray's 1959 rendition of Howard's Heartaches by the Number helped establish Howard in Nashville, while Price's 1958 smash hit City Lights was written by Bill Anderson.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.   Ray maintained his great work ethic until the end, performing as he battled pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind his wife of 45 years, Janie Price.