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Country music star Johnny Russell dies aged 61
COUNTRY MUSIC star of the Grand Ole Opry Johnny Russell died on 3rd July. The singer had serious health problems for the last couple of years culminating in the amputation of both his legs on 17th April as a result of diabetes. On 22nd March a whole host of Grand Ole Opry stars including Garth Brooks, Vince Gill and Porter Wagoner had performed a benefit concert to help with Johnny's mounting hospital bills.
Johnny was basically a songwriter who supplied a variety of country stars with many hits. His original breakthrough came when Jim Reeves recorded Johnny's "In A Mansion Stands My Love" on the back of his world wide million seller "He'll Have To Go". Johnny's most famous song was the track that the Beatles got hold of in the '60s, "Act Naturally", which was also a number one country hit for Buck Owens. Chet Atkins signed Johnny to a recording contract in 1971 and he had some reasonable success, most notably with "Red Necks, White Socks And Blue Ribbon Beer" and the autobiographical "The Baptism Of Jesse Taylor". In the mid '80s, Johnny professed the Christian faith and became an active member of Sunday Morning Country which was regularly broadcast from the Opry House.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.