Country Singer Bonnie Owens Dies at 76
Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:21:20
Merle Haggard Photos
Bonnie Owens, a country-and-western singer best-known as the wife and backup singer for Buck Owens and later Merle Haggard, died Monday (April 24) in a hospice in Bakersfield, California. She was 76.
Owens suffered from an advanced case Alzheimer's disease and was apparently unaware that her ex-husband Buck died just last month, also in Bakersfield. Family spokesman Jim Shaw named the Alzheimer's as the cause of her death.
Born Bonnie Campbell, she met Buck Owens in the mid-1940s, when she was an aspiring singer in her teens and he was the host of a radio show in Mesa, Arizona. Owens helped her get a job on another radio show and the couple married a year later. They had two children, separated in the early 1950s, but remained friends and performing partners, frequently appearing onstage together in the Bakersfield area's many truck stops and juke joints.
Bonnie Owens met and married Merle Haggard in the mid-1960s. The couple won an Academy of Country Music award for their first duet together, a rendition of "Just Between the Two of Us," and Owens toured with Haggard's band, the Strangers, for more than two decades, even following the couple's divorce in 1978.
Owens recorded six solo albums, two albums of duets with Haggard, and sang backup vocals frequently on both Haggard's and Buck Owens' records. Still, she remained modest about her own musical contributions, insisting that "I was a follower; Buck and Merle were leaders. I did what was needed and I did what I could." --The ARTISTdirect Staff