John Hartford


John Hartford Famous memorial

New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 4 Jun 2001 (aged 63)
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA
Plot Devotion
Memorial ID 5860870 View Source

Country and Bluegrass Musician. He is probably best known for composing the popular song "Gentle on My Mind", his first major hit. It became one of the most widely recorded country songs of all times, winning three Grammy Awards, and was listed in Broadcast Music Industry's Top 100 Songs of the 20th Century. Born John Claxton Harford (he changed his surname to Hartford as an adult when he joined the music industry), his father was a dentist who moved the family to St. Louis Missouri when he was a boy. Growing up, his musical influences came from listening to the Grand Ole Opera on the radio and by the age of 13, he was proficient on the fiddle and the banjo. After high school, he attended Washington University in St. Louis and studied commercial art but left after four years to pursue a music career. In 1965 he relocated to Nashville, Tennessee and signed a recording contract with RCA Records the following year and recorded his first album "Looks at Life". The following year, his second album, "Earthwords and Music", contained his hit "Gentle on My Mind" which came to the attention of country recording artist Glen Campbell, who then recorded his own version, giving it much wider popularity. He then moved to California where he became a regular on the CBS nighttime variety show "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". After turning down a lead role in a television detective series. he returned to his roots in Nashville and made appearances on "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" as well as "The Johnny Cash Show". He continued to record albums for RCA but in 1971 he switched to Warner Brothers Records, where he felt that he had more freedom with his style of music. His music became to be known as "newgrass" and he is considered by many as a cofounder of that movement. During the 1980s and 1990s he changed record labels several more times, and wrote several soundtracks for the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou" (2000) and also lent his voice to acclaimed Ken Burns' documentary series "The Civil War" (1990) and "Baseball" (1994). During his life, he maintained a fascination for steamboats and earned his pilot's license in the 1970s. In the 1980s he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and he succumbed to the disease at the age of 63. During his career, he recorded over 30 albums, and "Aereo Plain" (1971) and "Morning Bugle" (1972) are often considered to be his most influential works that defined his nontraditional style in the newgrass world.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ron Moody
  • Added: 19 Oct 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5860870
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Hartford (30 Dec 1937–4 Jun 2001), Find a Grave Memorial ID 5860870, citing Spring Hill Cemetery, Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .