1970’s country chart-topper Tommy Overstreet has passed away at the age of 78.
Friend and fellow country musician Rex Allen Jr. announced the sad news through a Facebook post on Nov. 3. “Tommy Overstreet has passed away at his home,” he wrote. “Tommy was a great guy and headlined the first tour I ever worked. So sad.”
Overstreet first found fame in the 1920s, following in the footsteps of his cousin, Gene Austin. He began performing on famed disc jockey Slim Willet’s television series at the age of 17 before starting a band of his own. He continued to perform music through the years before taking over operations at Nashville’s Dot Records in the 60s. Soon after, he also signed with the label and reset his focus on recording music.
In 1969, he hit the country charts with his single, “Rocking a Memory (That Won’t Go to Sleep)”. Over the next few years, he had over 20 singles chart within the top 40, including his Top 5 hit, “Gwen (Congratulations)”. He became a frequent special guest on Hee Haw and The Midnight Special before taking a step back from his busy career and relocating to Branson, Mo. He was one of the first of many country stars to make the move to Missouri in the late 80s after retiring from the country scene. He and his family later moved to Hillsboro, Ore., where he passed away at his home earlier this week.
Funeral arrangements are currently pending.