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Hargus Melvin “Pig” Robbins

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Hargus Melvin “Pig” Robbins

Birth
Spring City, Rhea County, Tennessee, USA
Death
30 Jan 2022 (aged 84)
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA
Burial
Cremated Add to Map
Memorial ID
View Source
Hargus 'Pig' Robbins, Country Music Hall of Fame Music Row pianist, dies at 84 The musician played on eight decades of Nashville hits.

Hargus "Pig" Robbins is as elemental to country music's rise into a popularly beloved genre as steel guitars and telling the truth. The legendary blind
pianist and member of the vaunted "Nashville A-Team" of session musicians who deftly guided the sound's pop interests from western swing through countrypolitan
and into the modern era, died on January 30, at the age of 84.

He played on eight decades worth of albums by artists from Bob Dylan (1966's Blonde on Blonde) and Dolly Parton (Coat of Many Colors in 1971, Jolene in
1974) to Kenny Rogers (The Gambler, 1978) and Shania Twain (1995's The Woman In Me) and a who's who of others.

In an official press release, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young noted, "Like all successful session musicians, Pig Robbins was quick
to adapt to any studio situation. He worked quickly, with perfection less a goal than a norm. And while he could shift styles on a dime to suit the singer
and the song, his playing was always distinctive. Pig's left hand on the piano joined with Bob Moore's bass to create an unstoppable rhythmic force, while
the fingers on his right hand flew like birds across the keys. The greatest musicians in Nashville turned to Pig for guidance and inspiration."

"Hargus 'Pig' Robbins was a defining sound for so much of the historic music out of Nashville. His talent spoke for itself through his decades- spanning
career and work as a session pianist with countless artists across genres. Our hearts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time," added
Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern.

On January 18, 1938, Robbins was born in Spring City, Tennessee.  Pig was blinded by an accident with his father's pocket knife when he was 4 years old.  He
entered the Tennessee School for the Blind (TSB), located in Nashville, when he was 7.  He almost immediately began taking piano lessons, and by the time
he graduated from TSB in 1955, he was an accomplished pianist.  About the nickname of Pig, he said, "| got the nickname 'Pig' at school.  I had a supervisor
who called me that because l used to sneak into a fire escape and play when I wasn't supposed to, and l'd get dirty as a pig."  

Pig graduated from the Tennessee School for the Blind in 1955 at the age of 17.

At 19, Robbins gained renown as a Nashville club musician, and two years later (1959), via his vibrant, honky-tonk style performance on George Jones' #1
hit "White Lightning," he became a staple in the studio. Success continued quickly for Robbins as country music became a national touring commodity.

When legendary Nashville producer Owen Bradley needed someone to fill in for the then touring Floyd Cramer, hired Robbins to play piano on Patsy Cline's
1961 breakout hit "| Fall to Pieces."

He also won a Grammy as Country Instrumentalist of the Year in 1977, plus the CMA's Instrumentalist of the Year in 1976 and 2000.

Robbins' ability to play subtle yet almost instantaneously memorable melodies seamlessly fit with Nashville's elite musicians. Since he was a child, he
studied blues and jazz alongside country's various forms. This provided him with an approach to music that saw him play in not a virtuoso style but in
deep service to the song itself. "if you're going to be a good player, you have to come up with something that will complement the song and the singer,"

he noted upon being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Famously, in Robert Altman's 1975-released country and gospel music business satire, Nashville, a piano player nicknamed "Frog," is fired by Henry Gibson's
egotistical country vocalist character, who yells at the studio engineer: "When I ask for Pig, I want Pig!"

Fellow Nashville A-Teamer Charlie McCoy once noted, "Pig Robbins is the best session man I've ever known. Anytime Pig's on a session everyone else plays
better."
- Ralph
Hargus 'Pig' Robbins, Country Music Hall of Fame Music Row pianist, dies at 84 The musician played on eight decades of Nashville hits.

Hargus "Pig" Robbins is as elemental to country music's rise into a popularly beloved genre as steel guitars and telling the truth. The legendary blind
pianist and member of the vaunted "Nashville A-Team" of session musicians who deftly guided the sound's pop interests from western swing through countrypolitan
and into the modern era, died on January 30, at the age of 84.

He played on eight decades worth of albums by artists from Bob Dylan (1966's Blonde on Blonde) and Dolly Parton (Coat of Many Colors in 1971, Jolene in
1974) to Kenny Rogers (The Gambler, 1978) and Shania Twain (1995's The Woman In Me) and a who's who of others.

In an official press release, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young noted, "Like all successful session musicians, Pig Robbins was quick
to adapt to any studio situation. He worked quickly, with perfection less a goal than a norm. And while he could shift styles on a dime to suit the singer
and the song, his playing was always distinctive. Pig's left hand on the piano joined with Bob Moore's bass to create an unstoppable rhythmic force, while
the fingers on his right hand flew like birds across the keys. The greatest musicians in Nashville turned to Pig for guidance and inspiration."

"Hargus 'Pig' Robbins was a defining sound for so much of the historic music out of Nashville. His talent spoke for itself through his decades- spanning
career and work as a session pianist with countless artists across genres. Our hearts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time," added
Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern.

On January 18, 1938, Robbins was born in Spring City, Tennessee.  Pig was blinded by an accident with his father's pocket knife when he was 4 years old.  He
entered the Tennessee School for the Blind (TSB), located in Nashville, when he was 7.  He almost immediately began taking piano lessons, and by the time
he graduated from TSB in 1955, he was an accomplished pianist.  About the nickname of Pig, he said, "| got the nickname 'Pig' at school.  I had a supervisor
who called me that because l used to sneak into a fire escape and play when I wasn't supposed to, and l'd get dirty as a pig."  

Pig graduated from the Tennessee School for the Blind in 1955 at the age of 17.

At 19, Robbins gained renown as a Nashville club musician, and two years later (1959), via his vibrant, honky-tonk style performance on George Jones' #1
hit "White Lightning," he became a staple in the studio. Success continued quickly for Robbins as country music became a national touring commodity.

When legendary Nashville producer Owen Bradley needed someone to fill in for the then touring Floyd Cramer, hired Robbins to play piano on Patsy Cline's
1961 breakout hit "| Fall to Pieces."

He also won a Grammy as Country Instrumentalist of the Year in 1977, plus the CMA's Instrumentalist of the Year in 1976 and 2000.

Robbins' ability to play subtle yet almost instantaneously memorable melodies seamlessly fit with Nashville's elite musicians. Since he was a child, he
studied blues and jazz alongside country's various forms. This provided him with an approach to music that saw him play in not a virtuoso style but in
deep service to the song itself. "if you're going to be a good player, you have to come up with something that will complement the song and the singer,"

he noted upon being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Famously, in Robert Altman's 1975-released country and gospel music business satire, Nashville, a piano player nicknamed "Frog," is fired by Henry Gibson's
egotistical country vocalist character, who yells at the studio engineer: "When I ask for Pig, I want Pig!"

Fellow Nashville A-Teamer Charlie McCoy once noted, "Pig Robbins is the best session man I've ever known. Anytime Pig's on a session everyone else plays
better."
- Ralph


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