Faron Young was not only a great entertainer but a great friend as well!
Originally known as “the Hillbilly Heartthrob” and “the Singing Sheriff,” Faron had one of the longest-running and most popular careers in country music history. In the early ’50s, Young was one of the most popular honky tonkers to come along following the untimely death of Hank Williams.
Faron was born and raised outside of Shreveport, LA. While growing up on his father’s dairy farm he was given a guitar and by the time he entered high school had begun singing in a country band. After a brief stint in college he joined the legendary Louisiana Hayride as a regular performer.
That’s where he met Webb Pierce and in a short time, the two were touring throughout the Southern U.S. singing as a duo in various honky tonks.
In 1951, he recorded “Have I Waited Too Long” and “Tattle Tale Tears” for the independent label Gotham. After hearing those singles, Capitol Records decided to buy out Faron’s Gotham contract in 1952. And that was also the same year he was invited to perform regularly on the Grand Ole Opry.
Faron’s career truly began to hit its stride in 1956 when “I’ve Got Five Dollars and It’s Saturday Night” and “You’re Still Mine” reached number four and three, respectively in the spring of that year followed by the number two “Sweet Dreams” later that summer. “Sweet Dreams” was not only his biggest hit since “All Right,” but it also gave songwriter Don Gibson his first significant exposure.
Faron developed a reputation for finding promising new songwriters, bringing Roy Drusky’s “Alone With You” to the top of the charts in the summer of 1958 while also taking Willie Nelson’s “Hello Walls” to #1 in 1961 making that song Willie Nelson’s first #1 hit of his career. Faron Young was one of the first artists to record a Willie Nelson written song.
Listen and watch as Faron Young and Willie Nelson discuss how Faron came to record Willie’s first #1 hit – “Hello Walls”
During the ’60s, Faron transitioned into more country-pop type songs and while the hits weren’t quite as big, they continued coming until the early 1980’s. During that time, he was a staple at the Grand Ole Opry and various television shows like “Nashville Now” and he also founded the major country music magazine, Music City News.
Although a great talent and country superstar, we also remember him as a good friend. As you can see from the wedding photo at left, Faron also served as the best man at Frank and Jeanie Oakley’s wedding on October 13, 1966. Frank and Jeanie Oakley are the long time storekeepers of the Willie Nelson and Friends General Store and Museum in Nashville.
Faron often stopped by the Willie Nelson store just to sit and talk with Frank and Jeanie Oakley. I remember a lot of good times listening to Faron tell his many, many entertaining and colorful stories.
You can relive many of these tales as described by Frank Oakley in his recent book entitled, “The Nashville Sidekick.”
In Faron’s honor, we’ve created a special display in the Willie Nelson museum dedicated to Faron Young. We also have a lot of photos of him scattered throughout the store and museum. So be sure and stop in – you’ll love it if you’re as much of a Faron Young fan as we are.
In addition to Faron Young, the Willie Nelson and Friends museum displays and exhibits honor the likes of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Porter Wagoner, Jeannie Seely, the Wilburn Brothers, Webb Pierce, David Frizzell, Mel Tillis and many, many others.