Ray Noble Price was born near Perryville, Texas, in 1926. After serving in the U. S. Marines during World War II, he planned to become a veterinarian and attended North Texas Agricultural College. Singing at nearby Roy's House Cafe, however, changed his plans. With assistance from Dallas recording entrepreneur Jim Beck, he made his first record for the Nashville-based Bullet label. Soon he was singing on Dallas radio programs like KRLD Big D Jamboree. Shortly after, he signed to a contract with Columbia Records in 1951.
Hank Williams recognized Price's talent and featured him on road shows. Williams wrote "Weary Blues (From Waitin')" for him. Price and Williams shared more than a mutual admiration for country music and its honest lyrics. For a while, Price roomed with Williams and even used Williams' Drifting Cowboys as his band.
Gradually, he began to put his own stamp on country's honky tonk tradition with his 1956 No. 1 hit "Crazy Arms." He continued his reign on the charts with "I've Got a New Heartache," "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You" and other hits. Price was a friend to other singers and songwriters like Willie Nelson, Bill Anderson, Roger Miller and Johnny Paycheck, who were also trying to find their way in Music City. He befriended Harlan Howard who would become one of country music's most prolific songwriters. Early in his career, Howard wrote Price's classic "Heartaches by the Number." Anderson was the songwriting talent behind "City Lights."
By the mid-1960s, however, Price's music reflected a decidedly pop-flavored style, as heard in "Make the World Go Away" and his version of Nelson's "Night Life." Backed by a full orchestra, he recorded "Danny Boy" in 1967, another hit. Price continued to enjoy pop-country success into the early 1970s with "For the Good Times" and "I Won't Mention It Again."
He was recognized for his many contributions to the industry with his 1996 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2002, he released the album Time. He and Nelson released a classic-country duet album, Run That By Me One More Time, in 2003.
Last of the Breed