Though his vicious left hook earned him his name, it was Lefty Frizzell's voice that earned him his enduring place in the history of country music.
Born on March 31, 1928, in Corsicana, Texas, William Orville Frizzell grew up traveling around the South as his oil-drilling father moved from job to job. As a boy he learned to play guitar by listening to the records of country legend Jimmie Rodgers and was soon playing at local dances and radio shows. The boy graduated to the honky-tonk bars and clubs of Texas in the '40s, eventually taking some demos to Columbia Records in Nashville.
Both sides of his first single "I Love You a Thousand Ways" (RealAudio excerpt) and "If You've Got the Money, Honey, I've Got the Time" became top-10 hits in 1950. During the next two years, he wrote and recorded a string of hits notable for their vocal style, which made honky-tonk music appealing to a large audience. The advent of rock took its toll on Nashville stars, but Frizzell continued to record and tour through the '60s and into the '70s. He was preparing a new album for ABC Records when he died of a stroke on July 19, 1975.
Other birth anniversaries Friday include John D. Loudermilk, 66.