Buck Owens’ Stories of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash

Country Music legend Buck Owens was once asked, “Looking back on your great career, is there any one thing you regret doing or not doing?”

Owens performed at Houston Rodeo one week after Elvis in 1969.

“Elvis Presley was appearing at the Hilton in Las Vegas,” Owens thought of the first thing that popped in his head. “Bakersfield to Las Vegas in a plane is only 30 minutes. So, I set up [an arrangement] with Colonel Tom [Parker] for my two sons and I and my wife to see Elvis.”

“At the last moment I felt bad and my wife and I didn’t go, but my two sons and their wives went. They had a big box, a special place. And nobody got the word to Elvis that I wasn’t there.”

“In the middle of his show, Elvis made this great introduction to Buck Owens. … My sons told me they put the spotlight over on our box and folks were applauding. I was very upset. I never had another chance to meet him.”

“I was a great Elvis fan. They were very kind. They sent back a couple of security people from the Hilton to take my sons and their wives backstage to Elvis’ dressing room. They said hello, got to meet him and had a couple of pictures made with him. I really do regret that I missed it.”

Hee Haw

“The most memorable person I ever performed with was Don Rich; there’s no doubt about it. However, talking about other artists, I owe so much to Johnny Cash, because in 1960 Johnny Cash took me on a tour with him all the way across Canada, down through Seattle and Portland.”

“Then Luther [Perkins, Cash’s guitarist] dropped me off at my house in Bakersfield after the tour. I got to play before tens of thousands of people. Johnny Cash was so hot, and he gave me that opportunity. I sang three or four songs each show.”

Cash in Hee Haw

“I always felt like I owed Johnny Cash that debt forever. I would never be able to repay him. So, my most memorable person is Johnny Cash. I don’t know anyone that has meant more to country music than Johnny Cash has meant. He’s the absolute champion. Although I’m a fan of many of the others, I’m a great believer in the great Johnny Cash.”

Have you ever turned down a song to record and then it became a hit with another artist? If so, what was the song title?

“Well, you know I did turn down a song. Nat Stuckey sent me a song one time called “Hungries for Your Love.” I changed it to “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line.” Don Rich and I took that and wrote some verses about it and made a nice big song about it.”

Stuckey

“Immediately thereafter, I got another song from Nat Stuckey. Nat Stuckey passed on some years ago from cancer. He sent me “Pop a Top.” I loved the song. I thought the song would be a hit, but I didn’t want to do a song at that time about drinking and all that.”

“Jim Ed Brown put it out and made a hit out of it. I never regretted that, because it wasn’t that I didn’t believe in the song, it’s just I didn’t want to do a drinking song at that time.”

Amusement Baby Boomers Classic TV Elvis Entertainment History

Texans Jack & Dodie View All →

Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Music
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Actors
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Space Explorers
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
Notables
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.

As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.

He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.

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