Johnny Horton was born John LaGale Horton, April 30, 1925 in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in Rusk, Texas in Cherokee County in Eastern Texas.  Horton rose to fame very slowly through the 1950s.

In 1959, he hit it big with the song, “The Battle of New Orleans.”  The song was written by Jimmy Driftwood which scored the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country Recording topping the chart at number one. Then came “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’ Forty Below).”


November 1960 -- he had two other successes, “Sink the Bismarck” and “North to Alaska” for John Wayne’s movie of the same name.

Johnny Horton was married twice. His first marriage was to Donna Cook, which ended in divorce.

Hank Williams Senior died at the age of 29 on January 1, 1953. Williams was a big fan of Johnny Horton.  After Williams’ death, Horton became close friends with his widow, Billie Jean, and the couple married in September of 1953.  With Billy Jean, the couple had two daughters, Nina and Melody.  Horton also adopted Billie Jean's daughter, Jeri Lynn.

Johnny Horton died November 5, 1960 after a late night auto crash on November 4th.  Horton was only 35 years old.  His funeral was held at Shreveport, Louisiana on November 8, 1960.

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