HONORING MERLE KILGORE -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 02, 2004)
HON. MARSHA BLACKBURN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2004
Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor a great Tennesseean and a legend in country music. Merle Kilgore is a businessman who has bridged his early music experience with today's growing country music industry.
Merle began his career in Shreveport, Louisiana at the age of 14, carrying Hank Williams, Sr.'s guitar. Since then, Merle has risen as a leader in the country music industry. He co-wrote the "Ring of Fire" with June Carter-Cash, as recorded by Johnny Cash. That great hit sold more than sixteen million records. Merle didn't stop there; he continued to write hit after hit developing his catalog to over 300 songs. All together his song collection has sold close to fifty million records. Merle's first Top Ten record was self penned "Dear Mama," and he has accumulated several others since.
Merle moved to Nashville in 1962 and began his management career. Merle has been affiliated with Hank Williams, Jr. for more than thirty years. On April 7, 1986, Merle was named the Executive Vice President and head of management of Hank Williams, Jr. Enterprises.
In addition to managing Hank's career, Merle has served as Vice President of the Country Music Association and has served on the CMA Board of Directors since 1989. He has been President of both the Nashville Songwriter's Foundation, as well as the Nashville Songwriter's Association International. In 1987 he was named an honorary State Senator for Tennessee, and in 1998, Merle received the Legendary Songwriter's Award from the North American Country Music Association.
Merle is an accomplished singer, songwriter, and actor. He is a shining star in the nation's entertainment industry. However, Merle is definitely not just "resting on his laurels." For Singer-Songwriter-Manager Merle Kilgore, the best may be yet to come. Today I rise to recognize Merle and thank him for his dedication and his willingness to share his incredible talents with Tennesseeans and country music fans worldwide.