NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Country music firebrand Charlie Daniels has died of a stroke at 83; he had hit with ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’.
An active musician since the 1950s, Daniels is a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (2016) and a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2008.
First known for his work with the Marshall Tucker Band, Daniels earned a Grammy Award in 1979 for “Devil.” Both Daniels and the song made an appearance in the film “Urban Cowboy,” which drove the song to No. 1. In 1993, he worked with fiddler Mark O’Connor to create a sequel song called “The Devil Came Back to Georgia.”
He had suffered what was described as a mild stroke in January 2010 and had a heart pacemaker implanted in 2013 but continued to perform.
Daniels, a singer, guitarist and fiddler, started out as a session musician, even playing on Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” sessions. Beginning in the early 1970s, his five-piece band toured endlessly, sometimes doing 250 shows a year.
His edgy, early music raised eyebrows in Nashville, with “Long Haired Country Boy” celebrating marijuana smoking and “Uneasy Rider” poking fun at rednecks. But he softened some verses in the 1990s and in 2008 joined the epitome of Nashville’s music establishment, the Grand Ole Opry.