Bluegrass Pioneer Dr. Ralph Stanley Dies At Age 89
June 24, 2016 at 7:19 AM (PT)
Bluegrass pioneer and GRAND OLE OPRY member Dr. RALPH STANLEY died last NIGHT (6/23) from difficulties with skin cancer. He was 89.
STANLEY and his brother, CARTER, formed the STANLEY BROTHERS and their CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS in 1946 creating a distinctive three-part harmony with bandmate PEE WEE LAMBERT. After CARTER's death in 1966, RALPH drew even deeper from his APPALACHIAN upbringing, reforming the CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS to include RAY CLINE, LARRY SPARKS, and MELVIN GOINS. STANLEY added the title of Dr. after receiving an honorary doctorate of music from LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY in HARROGATE, TN in 1976. After originally popularizing "Man Of Constant Sorrow" in 1951, the tune -- and STANLEY -- came to pop culture prominence in 2000 with the release of the film and soundtrack for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" The soundtrack featured STANLEY's performance of "O Death" and led to a 2002 GRAMMY win for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Despite health problems, STANLEY continued to record and tour into his 80s before embarking on his final tour, "MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW TOUR: THE DR.'S FAREWELL" in 2013 (NET NEWS 6/26/13).
Dr. RALPH STANLEY is survived by his wife of nearly 48 years, JIMMIE STANLEY, as well as three children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Memorial service details are currently pending.