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25 Aug 09 Johnny Horton Joins Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

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Johnny Horton was known as one of the country’s earliest crossover artists, with a rockabilly style that also earned pop music fan praise. Now Horton, who was killed after a performance in a 1960 car crash, has earned another crossover award. The east Texas native has been inducted into the neighboring Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Horton was inducted during a weekend ceremony in Shreveport, as part of the James Burton International Guitar Festival. Burton, a Shreveport native, is best known for his work with Elvis Presley. Burton was also inducted into the Hall Saturday night, along with longtime record retailer Stan Lewis.  This brings the total number of Louisiana Music Hall of Fame members to 44.
Horton was born in Los Angeles, but was raised in Rusk, Texas. His family trekked back and forth from California often as migrant fruit pickers but always returned to the Rusk/Gallatin area in Texas. After graduation from Gallatin High School in 1944, he attended Lon Morris Junior College, in Jacksonville, Texas, on a basketball scholarship.
Thereafter, he worked in California and Alaska. He returned to Texas and won a talent contest hosted by then-radio announcer Jim Reeves at the Reo Palm Isle club in Longview.  He soon starred in the popular Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. He remained a Hayride member until his death.
Johnny Horton epitomizes the power of the Louisiana Hayride to break artists into the national spotlight. The influence of the home-bred talents around him was evident in the style and theme of his greatest hit “The Battle of New Orleans.” He scored 13 additional chart hits including “North to Alaska,” “Sink the Bismarck” and “Honky Tonk Man.”

Horton was one of many legends who found either a starting point or a home with the Louisiana Hayride. Others include Presley, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash and Lefty Frizzell.

For more information about The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, visit www.LMHOF.org.

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