Backbeat Books has released Buck ‘Em!, the autobiography of country music superstar Buck Owens, seven years after his death in 2006. Buck began working on Buck ‘Em! in the late 1990s, speaking into a cassette tape recorder for nearly 100 hours to record the story of his life.
With a near photographic memory, Buck recalled his earliest days of wearing hand-me-down clothes in Texas to his years of country music stardom in the 1960s. GRAMMY-nominated producer and author Randy Poe assembled all of his stories and transcribed them so that they are in Buck’s own words.
“The stream of stories throughout this book captures, with an uncanny accuracy, the way I heard Buck speak whenever he told a story to someone,” Dwight Yoakam says in the preface of the book.
Born in Texas and raised in Arizona, Buck found his way to Bakersfield, California, where he created his own brand of country music. Inspiring everyone from ordinary music fans to the Beatles, he changed the way country records were mixed, produced, written and perceived. He sold millions of albums and played sold-out shows night after night. He began hosting the country comedy TV show Hee Haw in 1969, becoming a household name.
While he made success look easy, Buck was a hard-working and complex individual. He survived the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression with a drive “to be somebody” and struggled to change his life while going on to change the lives of almost every person he came into contact with.
“To this day it still baffles me that the ‘twangiest,’ ‘honkey-tonkinest,’ ‘countryest’ music made in the ’60s was not made anywhere near Nashville, but in California by a Texan, actually,” Brad Paisley says in the book’s foreword.
Additionally, Buck ‘Em!: The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967), a two-CD set, has been released as a companion to the book.