Country rocker and fiddler Charlie Daniels dies at age 83

Country rocker and fiddler Charlie Daniels dies at age 83 after suffering a stroke

  • Daniels, who had a hit with Devil Went Down to Georgia, died Monday at age 83
  • Daniels’ publicist confirmed he died in hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee, after doctors said he had a hemorrhagic stroke
  • Daniels, a singer, guitarist and fiddler, started out as a session musician, even playing on Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline sessions
  • He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016 
  • Daniels is survived by his wife Hazel, who he married in 1964, and son Charlie Jr. 

Country music firebrand and fiddler Charlie Daniels, who had a hit with Devil Went Down to Georgia, has died at age 83.

A statement from his publicist said the Country Music Hall of Famer died Monday at a hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee, after doctors said he had a hemorrhagic stroke.

He had suffered what was described as a mild stroke in January 2010 and had a heart pacemaker implanted in 2013 but continued to perform.

Country music firebrand and fiddler Charlie Daniels, who had a hit with ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ has died at age 83

Daniels, a singer, guitarist and fiddler, started out as a session musician, even playing on Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline sessions. 

Beginning in the early 1970s, his five-piece band toured endlessly, sometimes doing 250 shows a year.

His edgy, early music raised eyebrows in Nashville, with Long Haired Country Boy celebrating marijuana smoking and Uneasy Rider poking fun at rednecks. 

But he softened some verses in the 1990s and in 2008 joined the epitome of Nashville’s music establishment, the Grand Ole Opry.   

Born October 28 1936, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Daniels was was a talented fiddler, guitar, banjo, and mandolin player.

He would play bluegrass music with an act called the Misty Mountain Boys, and later branched into playing rock ‘n’ roll.

A statement from his publicist said the Country Music Hall of Famer died Monday due to a hemorrhagic stroke

Daniels is pictured performing during a memorial service for country music singer Troy Gentry at the Grand Ole Opry House on September 14 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee

A major break came in 1964, when he co-authored a song titled It Hurts Me, with friend Bob Johnston. The song was recorded by Elvis Presley for the B-side of his single Kissin’ Cousins. 

He’s best known for his single The Devil Went Down to Georgia, which climbed to No. 1 on the country chart and crossed over to No. 3 on the pop side in 1979, selling 1 million copies.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. 

In 2017 he published his memoir Never Look at the Empty Seats and followed up with Let’s All Make the Day Count: The Everyday Wisdom of Charlie Daniels in 2018. 

Even before scoring a national hit, Daniels was popular among country rockers, thanks to his headlining appearances at the star-studded Volunteer Jam concerts, launched in Nashville in 1974.

The annual event ran through 1996 and was officially revived in 2015.

The show produced a handful of live albums for Daniels in the 1970s and ’80s. 

Beginning in the early 1970s, Daniels’ five-piece band toured endlessly, sometimes doing 250 shows a year

In March, despite the coronavirus pandemic putting many events on hold, Daniels confirmed the lineup for this year’s concert on September 15, naming performers such as Trace Adkins, Justin Moore, The Marshall Tucker Band and Charley Pride among others.

At the time, Daniels told the Tennessean, ‘With so many kinds of music and so many artists from different fields and different eras, this is shaping up to be the most unique Jam yet,

‘We’ve been adding acts at a dizzying pace and we ain’t even near ’bout done.

‘Just the end of the Jam will feature enough top line guitar pickers to shake the walls. Gonna make some special memories with this one.’  

Daniels is survived by his wife Hazel, who he married in 1964, and son Charlie Jr.  

Daniels is survived by his wife Hazel and son Charlie Jr.. The rocker is pictured with Hazel on October 16 2016

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