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Info 101: Countrytime 47: Ray Price (1926-2013)

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"I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day." This was the dying message of Ray Price, delivered through his wife Janie.

Ray Price wrote, recorded and performed hit song after hit song. He had seven number one hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country charts between 1952 and 1989. "Crazy Arms", "Release Me", "For the Good Times", "Heartaches by the Number", "City Lights", "Too Young to Die" and so many more. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He popularized the use of electric instruments and drums in country music. His 'sound' was labeled the Ray Price country shuffle.

Price was born near Perryville, Texas, in 1926 and raised in Dallas. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and studied to be a veterinarian before deciding to make music his career. He passed away at his Texas home from pancreatic cancer on Mon., Dec. 16, 2013.

Among Price's closest friends were Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and Johnny Paycheck. The latter three were members of his band, the Cherokee Cowboys at one time. Each of those singers considered Price to be an inspiration to them and each adapted a version of the Ray Price shuffle to their own style. Jones and Miller have already passed on, leaving legacies that also serve as a thank you to the man who inspired them. They aren't the only ones and everyone who heard Price sing or saw his shows will remember him forever.

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