Yesterday, When We Were Young: A Brief Tribute to Roy Clark


It seems like we’ve lost an old friend, one who was welcomed into homes across America for decades. Roy Clark, Country Music’s King of Strings, adept on guitar, banjo, and mandolin, and one of TV’s most Familiar Faces thanks to his 14 year gig as co-host of HEE HAW, passed away yesterday at age 85. Clark was born in Virginia on April 15, 1933, and picked up his first guitar at age 14. He was a two-time National Banjo Champion by age 15, and made his Grand Ole Opry debut at 17. Roy joined Jimmy Dean’s band in the early 50’s, but was fired for his chronic tardiness. He then began playing backup for rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson.

When Dean got a guest host spot on THE TONIGHT SHOW, he brought his old bandmate Roy on, and Clark’s expert playing, coupled with his unassuming, warm personality, tore the house down. Soon Roy was all over the small screen: variety shows like Jackie Gleason and Flip Wilson, sitcoms like THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (as the Clampett’s bumpkin Cousin Roy), LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, THE ODD COUPLE ,THE MUPPET SHOW. But it was HEE HAW, which he cohosted with Buck Owens, that skyrocketed his popularity. Between the corny down home humor and classic country music, the show was a phenomenon, debuting in 1969 and running continuously until 1993. All the genre’s biggest stars performed, and Roy was a large part of it’s success.

Roy Clark sold out concerts around the world, and he was a huge draw in both Vegas and Branson, MO. When I heard the news he died, I immediately thought of his most-loved song, the poignant “Yesterday, When I Was Young”, which topped the charts in 1969. It’s one of the most bittersweet ballads ever, originally written in French by Charles Aznavour, and serves as a fitting tribute to Roy Clark:

God bless ya’ll, Roy.

9 Replies to “Yesterday, When We Were Young: A Brief Tribute to Roy Clark”

  1. I wouldn’t have known unless you told me. Over the last few years I’ve become a big fan thanks to RFD-TV I think it’s called. I don’t get it anymore, but they’d air reruns of Hee Haw on Sunday nights.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: