Country recording artist Mel McDaniel died today at the young age of 68.  He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the man behind the number one hit “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.”  I don’t claim to be a huge listener of country music, but I do remember him for sure.

McDaniel was known for such songs as “Gentle To Your Senses,” “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Stand Up,” “Anger and Tears,” and “I Call It Love.”  It’s nice to remember this string of hits in the eighties, because his other decades were a struggle.  His early years in music were frustrating to point that he uprooted himself from Nashville and moved north to Anchorage, Alaska.  It was up there that he played for the oil workers and local folks in the clubs, and that seemed to be a good fit.  He developed a strong following that heated up his career, so he went back down to Nashville to write songs and record demo tapes.  He cut a single with Combine Records called “Have a Dream On Me,” and by 1977, he had released his first album with Capitol Records.

Life was good for long time, but in 1996, he almost died at a Louisiana concert when he fell into the orchestra pit.  He never fully recovered from this accident which became a daily burden on his health.  As if that wasn’t enough, he suffered a heart attack thirteen years later that put him into a coma, and finally he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  It was a tough and painful road at the end, but it didn’t stop him from playing.  The last notable appearance was at the Grand Ole Opry reopening after it was flooded last September.  Good man.  May he get some rest now.