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Johnny Bush, songwriter who penned Willie Nelson’s ‘Whiskey River,’ dead at 85

Johnny Bush, the state singer-songwriter most effective known for crafting Willie Nelson’s hit “Whiskey River,” has died. He was 85.

Bush’s manager confirmed his demise to Rolling Stone and his day of dying was mentioned as Oct. 16 on his website.

A result in of dying was unannounced by his manager but Houston Chronicle reported that the entertainer died of pneumonia.

Bush, who was a excellent close friend of Nelson’s was popular in his hometown of Houston, where by the honky-tonk performer normally executed for crowds. His web site states that his subsequent demonstrate was scheduled to just take location in the Lone Star State on Nov. 8 but had been rescheduled to March 2021 owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Born Johnny Bush Shinn III on Feb. 17, 1935 in Houston, the performer was known to his audiences as Johnny Bush owing to a television announcer’s flub when he was 17, his website states.

Singer-songwriter Johnny Bush performs onstage in the course of the 46th Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 04, 2019 in Austin, Texas. He died at the age of 85 on Oct. 16, 2020.
(Rick Kern/WireImage for Shock Ink)

The entertainer obtained his get started in the new music sector many thanks to Nelson, who helped him land a work as a drummer in Ray Price’s band. His debut solitary, “Sound of a Heartache,” was released in 1967 and gained praise from Nelson, who described him at the time as a “wonderful singing talent.”

Bush penned “Whiskey River” in 1972, which grew to become a worldwide strike on Nelson’s launch of it just one calendar year later on on “Shotgun Willie.”

The performer, who performed the guitar, fiddle and the drums, was also recognized for his countrywide hits “Undo the Ideal” and “You Gave Me a Mountain.” The latter reportedly earned him the nickname of “Nation Caruso.”

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Bush’s singing profession was briefly stunted by vocal troubles which had been determined to be a outcome of a neurological disorder. This led him to get vocal and speech treatment, in accordance to Rolling Stone, and many thanks to Botox injections in 2002 his signature honky-tonk voice was restored.

In 2001, the National Council of Communicative Ailments and the American Speech-Language-Listening to Associated honored Bush with their Annie Glenn Award. He was inducted into the Region Tunes Hall of Fame in 2003 with Kris Kristofferson and Lefty Frizzell. Two a long time later, Broadcast Tunes, Inc. also awarded him with the Million-Air Award for “Whiskey River” reaching 1 million spins. Most not too long ago, he was the 1st receiver of the Ameripolitan Founder of the Year Award in 2014.

Tanya Tucker when referred to as Bush 1 of Texas’ “finest honky-tonk heroes” and experienced the option to perform with Bush for the duration of her teenage many years. The two executed “Large Large Love” jointly in honor of his 60th 12 months in the company in Fort Really worth, she claimed.

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In 1968, Nelson talked over his bond with Bush.

“It appeared that 1 day I experienced by no means read of Johnny Bush and then on the upcoming working day I had usually regarded him,” Nelson wrote in 1968. “We’re that very good of good friends.”

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