Sonny James, one of the most successful country artists of all time, passed away on Monday afternoon. He was 87.
James had a storied country music career. Best known for his hit “Young Love,” He charted 73 songs, 23 of which reached number one.
He was known as “The Southern Gentleman” for his friendly and courteous personality.
James was born in Hackleburg, Ala. At the age of 3, he began his musical journey by learning how to play the mandolin. He grew up performing with his family at various music shows around the state.
In 1950, James’ Army National Guard unit deployed to Korea. When he returned home the following year, he moved to Nashville and later signed with Capitol Records.
James’ first hit was “Young Love,” one of the first pop-country songs about teenage love. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1961.
One of James’ biggest musical accomplishments was his streak of hits in the late 60s and early 70s, during which time he released 16 consecutive number ones. His hot streak helped cement his status in the world of country music.
In 2007, James was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife, Doris.