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Bob Wills
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    (March 6, 1905-May 13, 1975)
    Born in Kosse, Texas
    Birth name was James Robert Wills
    Western swing fiddler, songwriter and bandleader
    Led the Texas Playboys
    Recorded the singles 'Spanish Two Step' (1935), 'Steel Guitar Rag' (1936), 'San Antonio Rose' (1938), 'Take Me Back to Tulsa' (1941), 'Cherokee Maiden' (1941), 'New San Antonio Rose' (1944), 'Smoke on the Water' (1945), 'Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima' (1945), 'Texas Playboy Rag' (1945), 'Silver Dew on the Blue Grass Tonight' (1945), 'White Cross on Okinawa' (1946), 'New Spanish Two Step' (1946), 'Roly Poly' (1946), 'Stay A Little Longer' (1946), 'Sugar Moon' (1947), 'Bob Wills Boogie' (1947), 'Bubbles in My Beer' (1948), 'Thorn in My Heart' (1948), 'Ida Red Likes the Boogie' (1950), 'Faded Love' (1950) and 'Heart to Heart Talk' (1960)
    Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1968)
    Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence (1999)
    He performed in blackface in minstrel shows.
    He was let go from the band the Light Crust Doughboys for missing too many shows due to binge drinking.
    He was married six times, including two separate marriages (and divorces) with Mary Louise Parker and a three month marriage with Ruth McMaster.
    He got into trouble with the IRS and sold off his song rights to raise the money to pay his back taxes.
    He sold his Dallas nightclub to Jack Ruby.
    He rode 50 miles on horseback to see Bessie Smith in concert.
    He was the first performer to defy the Grand Ole Opry's ban on drums (1944).
    At his peak in the 40s, his Texas Playboys were a bigger concert draw than the big bands of Benny Goodman and Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey.
    He inspired the Waylon Jennings song 'Bob Wills Is Still The King' and the Merle Haggard album 'A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World.'
    Haggard organized a reunion of the Texas Playboys (1973), but Wills suffered a stroke after the first recording session and lingered in a coma until his death 18 months later.

Credit: C. Fishel

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