Charlie Daniels, An American Treasure
It was back in 1973 I was 20 years old and working at WIIN 97 Atlanta, a progressive rock am station, I had to do a live remote at a record store that day. An artist was coming to the station to sign autographs and do the remote with me. His name was Charlie Daniels, at that time I knew him from a hit song he had the year before, Uneasy Rider. Charlie came in with a big smile on his face, and we headed out to do the remote. I learned what a kind man he was that day, he went out of his way to greet fans and sign autographs. Little did I know at the time what a real legend in the music business he was.
Charlie had been a session musician in Nashville for many years, played on a lot of albums you listened to, but never knew he was there. Fitting example, he played electric bass and guitar on three Bob Dylan albums. He was also a member of Leonard Cohen’s touring band, and produced Elephant Mountain by the Youngbloods. He had the opportunity in 1970 to work with Ringo Starr and George Harrison right after the Beatles broke up. Charlie Daniels released his first album in 1971, but the song that made him famous worldwide is “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” released in 1979.
I was working in the Midwest most of the 80’s, and anytime Charlie would play, I’d see him. Ron Huntsman who worked with Charlies management company Sound Seventy Productions, was my go-to guy for Charlie. He had always set me up with tickets and after show passes. Charlie loved his fans and always went out of his way to accommodate them. He had a great band, and they truly had fun doing every gig. I worked in Nashville for four years prior to moving to Michigan. I ran into Charlie and his wife a few times, and had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Daniels Jr, his son. With all his fame and fortune, you will not find anybody with a bigger heart or kinder words than Charlie Daniels. His passing is a true loss to all his fans and family, but we still have his music, and a ton of great memories. R.I.P. Charlie, there will never be another like you.