Vernon Dalhart, singer, songwriter
Singer ~ Songwriter
birth name: Marion Try Slaughter

Vernon Dalhart

April 6, 1883, Jefferson, TX ~ September 14, 1948, Bridgeport, CT

“There should be music in all our lives. It would take away much of the grimness and sorrow, and to those of us who have been gifted with that greatest of all gifts, the singing voice, comes the great duty of giving what joy our voices may bring to those less fortunate.” ~ Vernon Dalhart

A seminal figure in the development of commercial country music, Vernon Dalhart was one of the first country performers to gain national recognition, thanks to an ability to make his music palatable to a wider audience. Tackling operatic arias, popular songs and patriotic World War I ditties, he became a well-loved vaudeville entertainer, but it was his 1924 recording of mountain musician Henry Whitter’s The Wreck Of The Old ’97, backed up with The Prisoner’s Song, that provided him with lasting success. ~ Alan Cackett: Vernon Dalhart ~ retrieved December 7, 2015 © Alan Cackett

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April 6, 1963 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (3) Skeeter Davis, The End Of The World ~ #2 (2) Ruby & the Romantics, Our Day Will Come ~ #1 (1) the Chiffons, He's So Fine


Vernon Dalhart came to country music from outside the tradition, becoming a national star in the years just before more indigenous kinds of country music found their place in the machinery of the music industry. A 1924 recording by Dalhart became country music's first million-selling record; pairing a train song (Wreck of the Old 97) with a sentimental ballad (The Prisoner's Song), the release set patterns for two key genres of early country music on record. ~ Allmusic: Vernon Dalhart ~ retrieved April 19, 2014 © Allmusic

Vernon Dalhart ~ Inducted in the 1970 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Vernon Dalhart ~ The Prisoner's Song (Massey) ~ Ranked #345 RIAA Songs Of The Century in 2001.

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