Anyone who has been a country music fan for more than a decade or two, is very familiar with the music of Mel McDaniel. He was country music. The songs he put on the charts proved that. Mel brought us hits like “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On,” “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Stand Up” and “Anger and Tears.”
Mel was born in Checotah, Okla., on Sept. 6, 1942. That’s also Carrie Underwood’s home town. He’s a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and made frequent appearances there. Mel’s bio tells us he showed an interest in music as a child, and took up the trumpet in the fourth grade. He started guitar lessons soon after, and in his teens he played in local bands. By the time he was in high school, he was working as a musician in Tulsa clubs. He recorded several singles for some local labels, and moved to Nashville in the late 1960s.
His primary goal in Music City was to succeed as a songwriter. He worked in a gas station to earn a living while he tried to gain the attention of music publishers and performers. When that didn’t work out for him, he moved to Alaska, where he became a favored country performer in Anchorage. He returned to Nashville in 1973 and played for nine months at the Holiday Inn. In 1976, Mel signed a contract with Capitol Records, and the rest as they say, is history.
Mel was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. He last performed at the Opry on Sept. 28, 2010, when it opened again following repairs from the May 2010 flooding in Nashville.
I saw Mel just about three years ago at Dollywood, when Dolly opened her Porter Wagoner Exhibit. Mel was one of many entertainers on hand to see the new exhibit, and witness Dolly and members of Porter’s family planting roses in his memory. It was a real honor to be at that event, and to get to meet Mel, though briefly.
Hope you’ll take a few minutes and visit the MySpace page, where you can listen to a lot of Mel’s music.
Hope you all have a great Saturday – I’ll talk to you soon!