Monday, August 23, 2010

Spade Cooley.

I love music....all sorts - nearly every genre.

This is the reason I've become such a fan of Pandora Internet Radio. No matter where I want to travel musically, I can get there via Pandora.

Yesterday, I took a notion to listen to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I enjoy hearing Western Swing occasionally, though I'd hardly be called an expert. While listening to the genre on Pandora yesterday, I went to wikipedia to read a bit on the subject. It was in that article that I first learned of Spade Cooley, a popular Western Swing band leader whose career ended in 1961 when he was arrested and convicted for the murder of his second wife.

Prior to his downfall, Cooley was an extremely popular entertainer, having appeared in countless films. In 1960, he reportedly had $15 million......certainly not something to scoff at in 1960 dollars.

Sadly, Cooley was an alcoholic and a violent one to boot. According to, Cooley forced his 14 year old daughter to watch as he killed her mother.

Cooley was found guilty and sentenced to prison. Just before he was scheduled to be released on parole, he died of a heart attack while performing a benefit concert.

Although Cooley was the "King of Western Swing" and a friend of Roy Rogers, it isn't easy finding examples of his work today; fitting punishment for his having committed such a horrible murder. I was able to locate a Youtube video of his band in a Three Stooges movie, "Rockin' in the Rockies".
Cooley is the fiddle playing band leader in this video. I've also followed his video up with a video of Bob Wills doing the same song, so we can get a proper idea of Cooley's value as a musician.

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