Lefty Frizzell

Birth Name:
William Orville Frizzell
Birth Date:
March 31, 1928
Birth Place:
Corsicana, Texas
Death Date:
July 19, 1975
Place of Death:
Nashville Memorial Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee
Age:
47
Cause of Death:
Stroke
Cemetery Name:
Forest Lawn Memorial Garden
Claim to Fame:
Music
Widely considered one of the greatest country singers who ever lived, Lefty Frizzell's body of work gives little indication of the enormous stylistic impact he had on country music beginning in the 1950s. Had Lefty died the way Hank Williams died - hard, fast and young - he'd probably be remembered with the same respect Hank commands today. But as it was, Lefty fought through a twenty-five-year career to keep his personal life together and his soul intact, only to eventually succumb to his own worst habits at the young age of 47. In the end, his recording career lasted 25 years. He had six Billboard No.1 hits and charted a total of 39 songs. The big hits include: “I Love You a Thousand Ways,” “Always Late,” “Long Black Veil,” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “I Never Go Around Mirrors,” “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time,” “Mom and Dad’s Waltz” and “Saginaw, Michigan.” He later was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Not-So-Fun Facts

Disinterested in music and unnerved by the echoes of his own style in every song played on the radio, Frizzell reacted by withdrawing from the Nashville scene. This had a predictable impact on his his income and recording output. In 1975 he recorded The Legendary Lefty Frizzell which he believed was some of his best work. ABC records … not so much. In July of that year Lefty was preparing to leave on a short tour of Delaware honky-tonks when he turned to his wife and her friend and said, “I’ve done more than I even wanted to. And I am so tired, I can’t even stand up.” Several hours later Lefty woke up on the side of his bed in a pool of vomit. When he tried to get up he realized he couldn’t move his left side. After dialing a friend, an ambulance arrived at his home on Cline Court. However he suffered another stroke while in the ambulance and lapsed into a coma from which he never awoke.

Back in the late 1940s, as a teenager, he served jail time for statutory rape. During his six months in jail, he wrote to Alice daily and promised her all the royalties from his songs. He wrote in one letter, “You’ll never have to work again when I get out.” During that stint in jail, he wrote many songs for her. One of them would be his most famous song, “I Love You a Thousand Ways,” which also would become his first Billboard charting song, as well as his first No. 1 hit. So naturally Lefty learned his lesson and never, ever cheated on his wife ever again. Whoops, scratch that … in 1951 he was arrested backstage at the Opry and charged with “contributory delinquency” of a minor, underage girl. His wife Alice was pregnant at the time with their second child and was not happy with this latest career development. Their marriage survived somehow.

Lefty lived in Old Hickory Lake at 234 Sterling Road in Nashville, Tennessee but he suffered his fatal stroke at his second home on Cline Court in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Merle Haggard bought the infamous Lefty Frizzell Gibson guitar for $350,000 from the estate.

 

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Forest Lawn Memorial Garden

1150 Dickerson Pike

Goodlettsville, Tennessee, 37072

USA

North America

Grave Location:

Music Row, Plot 8, Grave A-1

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery the office will be on your right and you will take the first left and drive 100 feet to the sign for “Music Row.” Walk 10 feet past the Music Row sign and in this very narrow section along the road you will come upon the “Frizzell” family bronze marker where country legend Lefty Frizzell is buried.

Grave Location GPS

36.29552076161211, -86.72573884750739

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