1938 - 1999
Hoyt Axton, the folksy singer, songwriter
and movie actor was born in Oklahoma in 1938.
His mother, Mae Buran Axton was a songwriter having penned the hit "Heartbreak Hotel" for Elvis Presley.
Hoyt began singing folk songs in the clubs of San Francisco in 1958, and went on from there to write, perform, record and act.
He crossed the boundaries between Rock and Country music by writing songs for the likes of Ringo Starr , Steppenwolf ,Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, Waylon Jennings, John Denver Linda Ronstadt and The Kingston Trio. His own singing hits include "Boney Fingers" ("Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get? Boney fingers, boney fingers") and "When the Morning Comes."
In 1978, he couldn't get a satisfactory record deal so he set up his own label named Jeremiah. He proved industry skeptics wrong by scoring with the tunes "Della and the Dealer" and "Rusty Old Halo".
If you watched TV in the 80's, it was his voice that sang the "Head to the Mountains" jingle used to advertise Busch beer.
As an actor he specialized in playing good ol' boys on television and in film. He appeared in many movies and television shows, including "Gremlins", "Disorganized Crime," "The Black Stallion," "Bonanza," and "Different Strokes."
Not unlike many others in the industry, Hoyt had his bought with Drugs and Cops. Police found 500 grams of marijuana that allegedly was used to help the pain, anxiety and stress he suffered after he had a stroke in 1996. The sentence was deferred and he was fined.
Axton suffered a severe heart attack in October of 1999 and was struck by another while undergoing surgery. He had never fully recovered from a 1996 stroke and was using a wheelchair much of the time.
Axton died peacefully at his ranch home, October 26, 1999, surrounded by family and friends. He was 61.
"There was nobody that didn't like
Hoyt," "He was an entertainer's entertainer. It's a big loss for
country music. Oh God, was he fun."
Fran Boyd, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Academy of Country Music.
© 1999 Eddie Bear Productions