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Yesterday in Music – Hoyt Axton’s Birthday!

Hoyt Axton

March 25, 1938 – October 26, 1999

So yesterday I didn’t write about the day being the birthday of Hoyt Axton, so I’ll make up for it today! Anyway Axton was a big bear of a man with a contagious smile and a pretty darn good songwriter! Most of his songs became hits for others. Here’s a list of the songs I’m sure you all know a few of them!

“Greenback Dollar” covered by The Kingston Trio
“The Pusher”, covered by Steppenwolf on their début album in 1968. This version was also used in the soundtrack of the classic 1969 motion picture “Easy Rider”
“No-No Song”, which became a No. 3 hit for Ringo Starr in March 1975
“Never Been To Spain”, covered by Three Dog Night, Waylon Jennings, and Elvis Presley
“Joy to the World”, the Three Dog Night hit from April 1971 which held US No. 1 for six weeks
“Snowblind Friend” (1971), covered by Steppenwolf
“Lightning Bar Blues” (1973), covered by Brownsville Station and Arlo Guthrie (also a big hit for the Finnish band Hanoi Rocks in the ’80s)
“Sweet Misery” (1974), covered by John Denver

For those of you who don’t know Hoyt Axton here is some background from Wikipedia:

Hoyt Wayne Axton (March 25, 1938 – October 26, 1999)[1] was an American folk music singer-songwriter, and a film and television actor. He became prominent in the early 1960s, establishing himself on the West Coast as a folk singer with an earthy style and powerful voice. As he matured, some of his songwriting efforts became well known throughout the world. Among them were “Joy to the World”, “The Pusher”, “No No Song”, and “Greenback Dollar”…….

….Axton had many minor singing hits of his own, such as “Boney Fingers”, “When the Morning Comes”, and 1979’s “Della and the Dealer”, as well as “Jealous Man” (the latter two he sang in a guest appearance on WKRP in Cincinnati). His vocal style featured his distinctive bass-baritone (which later deepened to near-bass) and use of characterization.

But his most lasting contributions were songs made famous by others: “Joy to the World” and “Never Been to Spain” (Three Dog Night), the previously mentioned “Greenback Dollar” (Kingston Trio), “The Pusher” and “Snowblind Friend” (Steppenwolf), “No-No Song” (Ringo Starr), and an array of others, covered by singers such as Joan Baez, Guthrie Thomas, John Denver, Waylon Jennings, and Anne Murray. Axton also sang a couple of duets with Linda Ronstadt, including “Lion in Winter” and “When the Morning Comes” (a top 40 country hit). His most popular and signature song, “Joy to the World”, as performed by Three Dog Night, was number 1 on the charts for six straight weeks in 1971, making it the top hit of the year…..

…..Axton first appeared on television in a David L. Wolper ABC production of The Story of a Folksinger (1963). He frequently appeared on Hootenanny (US TV series), hosted by Jack Linkletter during this period. In 1965, he appeared in an episode of Bonanza, then followed with other TV roles over the years. As he matured, Axton as an actor specialized in playing good ol’ boys on television and in films. His face became well known in the 1970s and 1980s through many TV and film appearances, such as in the movies Gremlins and The Black Stallion. He sang the jingle “Head For the Mountains” in the Busch beer commercials in the 1980s (and also “The Ballad of Big Mac”, touting McDonald’s Big Mac on screen in a 1969 commercial he filmed for the hamburger franchise). Full Biography

Oh by the way, his songwriting genes came from his mother, Mae Boren Axton, co-wrote the classic rock ‘n’ roll song “Heartbreak Hotel”, which became the first major hit for Elvis Presley!

Now the reason I brought this up this afternoon was that I couldn’t remember the song that I liked so much back in the 70s and then while I was looking at this I remembered “Boney Fingers” so here’s some lunchtime music from Hoyt on the day after his birthday! Sadly Hoyt is not with us to celebrate he died in 1999 at the age of 61 after suffering a hearth attack! So Axton we all know you’re out there somewhere heading for those mountains and that Busch beer!! Happy Birthday, Big Guy!