RIP Bonnie Owens
Country Singer Bonnie Owens Dies
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 25, 2006
Filed at 10:11 a.m. ET
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) -- Bonnie Owens, a singer who married and
helped build the careers of country music legends Buck Owens and Merle
Haggard, has died. She was 76.
Owens died at a Bakersfield hospice hospital Monday after a long
battle with Alzheimer's disease, said family spokesman Jim Shaw, who
played keyboards in Buck Owens' band, the Buckaroos.
Her death came weeks after Buck Owens died on March 25.
Born Bonnie Campbell, she met Buck Owens in Mesa, Ariz., in the
mid-1940s when she was a teenager and he had a local radio show. When
Owens discovered that she could sing, he helped her get a job with him
on another radio show in 1947.
They married a year later, had two sons and separated in the early
1950s. They remained friends and she sometimes performed with Owens in
the truck-stop town's thriving juke joints.
While working as a waitress at a Bakersfield club, she sang with Fuzzy
Owen and his band, the Sun Valley Playboys. It was Owen who suggested
that she records a duet with a young Merle Haggard, and their
rendition of ''Just Between the Two of Us'' hit the top of the country
charts in 1965 and won the best vocal group award from the Academy of
She married Haggard that same year and toured with him and his band,
The Strangers, for nearly a decade. They divorced in 1978 and she
later married her third husband, Fred McMillan.
Despite recording six solo albums and two duet albums with Haggard she
remained modest about her musical contributions.
''I was a follower; Buck and Merle were leaders,'' she said. ''I did
what was needed and I did what I could.''