Red Sovine Cause of Death: How a Heart Attack Ended the Career of a Country Legend

Red Sovine was a country singer and songwriter who was known for his truck driving songs and his recitations of sentimental stories. He had several hits in the 1960s and 1970s, such as “Giddyup Go”, “Phantom 309”, and “Teddy Bear”. He died on April 4, 1980, at the age of 62, after suffering a heart attack while driving his van in Nashville, Tennessee.

Early Life and Career

Red Sovine was born on July 7, 1917, in Charleston, West Virginia. He was the adopted son of Lyle and Julie Sovine, and had two brothers and two sisters. He learned to play guitar from his mother and started singing in local radio shows as a teenager. He moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1947, where he performed on the Louisiana Hayride with Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, and other country stars. He signed with MGM Records in 1949 and had his first hit with “Why Baby Why” in 1956, a duet with Pierce. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in the same year.

Truck Driving Songs and Recitations

In 1964, Sovine switched to Starday Records and began recording truck driving songs, which were popular among the working-class audience. He had his first number one hit with “Giddyup Go” in 1965, a song about a father-son reunion on the road. He followed it with other truck driving songs, such as “Phantom 309”, “The Last Goodbye”, and “Little Joe”. He also recorded recitations of sentimental stories, such as “Teddy Bear”, “Daddy’s Girl”, and “It’ll Come Back”. These songs often featured children, animals, or disabled people, and appealed to the emotions of the listeners. Sovine’s voice was deep and warm, and his delivery was sincere and heartfelt.

Death and Legacy

On April 4, 1980, Sovine was driving his Ford van on Interstate 65 in Nashville, when he had a heart attack. He lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a concrete wall. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville. atherosclerosis, a disease in the arteries, could have also contributed to his death.

Red Sovine’s death was a shock and a loss to the country music industry and his fans. He was remembered as a talented, generous, and humble person, who had a passion for his music and a love for his family. His songs were praised for their storytelling and their authenticity. He influenced many other country artists, such as Dave Dudley, C.W. McCall, and Tom Waits. He was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2009.