Otherwise known as the "Jolly Green Giant," the traditional crooner was catapulted into superstardom by the end of the 1960s. In just three years, he landed nine Top 5 hits on the Country singles chart, including "Statue of a Fool" and "There Goes My Everything" -- the first of his string of hit songs beginning in 1967. With a sultry, signature vocal, he was also known to collaborate with many other classic stars, such as with Jeannie Seely on "Waltz Across Texas" and "Much Oblige."
His massive solo success with "There Goes My Everything" led to several major industry wins at the first Country Music Association Awards in the fall of 1967. That year he took home honors for Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. A month later, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on December 23, 1967 and has always been a regular performer.
Prior to his solo career, Greene, who learned to play the guitar when he was just 10 years old, first got his big break in radio as a teenager. At 18, he began appearing on the Tennessee Barn Dance on WNOX in Knoxville. Later, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he would later join the Peach Street Cowboys. This lead him to then join Earnest Tubb's Texas Troubadours in 1962 and perform regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. When his version of "The Last Letter" got the attention of Decca chief Owen Bradley, he then recorded his iconic "There Goes My Everything."
“Ernest told me ‘Son, I believe it’s time to go,’” Greene recalled before his passing. “But he also said, ‘If you can’t make it, you can always come back and be a Troubadour.’”
Greene's other signature hits, complete with his lonesome, aching cry, include "All the Time," "What Locks the Door," "You Are My Treasure," "Lord, Is That Me?" and "Back in the Arms of Love."
Relive Greene's magical performance of "Statue of a Fool" to the left.