Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Buck Owens, playing his trademark red, white and blue guitar in the mid-1960s.
Buck Owens, playing his trademark red, white and blue guitar in the mid-1960s. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Buck Owens, who popularized country music's "Bakersfield Sound," has died at 76. He didn't want to make the kind of music that was coming out of Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s, so he stayed in California, recording with The Buckaroos and driving for a harder, dance-oriented country music that influenced a generation of country artists.
Later, as host of TV's Hee-Haw, Owens helped introduce country to a broader audience. His music-making career flagged after the 1974 death of an early collaborator, Don Rich. But he bounced back in the late 1980s, re-recording an early hit, "The Streets of Bakersfield," with Dwight Yoakum.