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RIP Bonnie Owens

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  • Carl Z.
    Country Singer Bonnie Owens Dies By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: April 25, 2006 Filed at 10:11
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 25, 2006
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      <http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Obit-Owens.html>

      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
      Country Music.

      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.''
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