Country Singer — Lefty Frizzell

Lefty Frizzell (March 31, 1938 – July 19, 1975), whose real name was William Orville Frizzell, was a known 1950s country music singer-songwriter. His popular self-assured style influenced musicians of the stature of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, George Jones and John Fogerty.


Frizzell was born in Corsicana in East Texas, but soon after his birth he moved with his family to El Dorado – in the South of Arkansas – where the Frizzell remained until the early 1940s. Frizzell began playing guitar since he was a child. 12 Years began a few regular performances in a program for children in KELD – AM radio station. The family returned to Texas when Frizzell was still a teenager. Shortly after his career would significantly boost after winning a competition for young talents in Dallas. Named Sonny by his family, Frizzell earned the nickname of Lefty (El Zurdito), 14 years after a fight at school, while his record label suggested clear for advertising purposes that had won the Golden Gloves in a boxing championship.

At age 19 had a half-hour program in a small Texas radio station. Success came when producer Don Law heard him singing live at the Club As the Clubs (ACE of Clubs) in Big Spring, Texas. Frizzell signed with producer Columbia Records, and immediately recorded a number of songs which became part of the top ten country; music lists many of them reached number one.

In 1950 Frizzell was invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry; the following year appeared in Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana, and then he together with his colleague “cowboy” Ralph Spicer began touring with the largest country of the century, musician Hank Williams. Critics of the period referred to them as The Retes the Honky Tonks. Prolific singer-songwriter, Frizzell had four songs at the same time within the ‘top ten’ 1951, something that never again repeated until the Beatles recorded five songs on the list of the best-selling pop music from 1964.

At the beginning of the 1970s Frizzell changed record company and moved to Bakersfield, California, where he recorded some memorable songs country and became the first country singer to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Alcoholism, time, was already a problem: the mood swings and irrational rage were the distinguishing features of Frizzell, built as a legend of all time country music. In 1972 Frizzell was inducted into the Hall of the fame of Nashville Songwriters

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