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Wednesday, 09 October 2013

Grand Ole Opry Star - Songwriter

At one time Grand Ole Opry Star Ernie Ashworth did guided missile work...Until his songs began to shoot up the country charts like rockets.

Ernie's biggest hit, and the one that brought him to the Opry in 1964, was " Talk Back Trembling Lips." A number #1 Hit for Ernie in 1963. Not only did it stand on the national country charts for 36 weeks, the song made a good showing on the pop charts, making it one of the first crossover records.

Although, Ernie did not write this killer hit, he has enjoyed good success as a songwriter. The Huntsville, Alabama native said he could write songs long before he could play music. The young Opry fan early on learned to play guitar and sing, and by age 20 was featured on radio station WBHP in Huntsville.

From there he moved to Nashville and between 1949 and 1955 worked for several radio stations, including WLAC and WSIX. His initial success in the entertainment business, however, came from writing songs for country stars such as: Little Jimmy dickens, Carl Smith, Johnny Horton, Wilma Lee Cooper and Paul Anka who recorded Ernie's song : " I Wish ".

At one time he was signed as an exclusive writer for Accuff-Rose, Nashville's first music publishing company, by Wesley Rose who got Ernie a recording deal with MGM in 1955. Although he had several singles for the label, he didn't catch on as a singer, so he returned to Huntsville and went to work for the army's Redstone Arsenal, doing guided missile work. Three years later, Wesley Rose called to say he had gotten Ernie a record deal at Decca Records. Billed as Ernest Ashworth, the young singer's first single on the label, " Each Moment Spent With You" was a top 5 hit. The same year "You Can't Pick A Rose In December" went Top 10 and the next year "Forever Gone" went Top 20.

In 1962 Ernie changed to Hickory Records, a label owned by Acuff-Rose, and immediately scored another hit with "Everybody But Me" which went Top 5. Next came a Top 10 Hit with "I Take The Chance". His third single for the new label was the number #1 smash "Talk Back Trembling Lips".

In 1963 and 1964 Ernie was voted the "Most Promising Male Artist" by Cashbox, Billboard and Record World. Also in 1964, his lifelong dream came true when he joined the Grand Ole Opry cast, on March 7th. Young Ernie next scored more Hits, the Top 10 "A Week In The Country," the Top 5 "I Love To Dance With Annie" and the Top 15 "Pushed In A Corner." Other Hits followed, including "Because I Cared," "The D.J. Cried," "I Wish," "AT Ease Heart," "Sad Face" and "A New Heart."

For ten years from 1960 to 1970 every record Ernie released made the national charts. Of these, 12 were Top 10 Hits. In between Hits Ernie appeared on the Silver Screen in the movie "The Farmers Daughter" in 1965, not only is Ernie a successful singer and songwriter, He is a businessman too. In 1989 He bought radio station WSLV in Ardmore, Tennessee, 20 miles from Huntsville, Alabama.

In 1991 He received the "Living Legend Award" from the Major Independent Record Label Awards Show and that year Curb Records released an album of original recordings of some of his Top 10 Hits from the 1960's. In 1992 He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame, recorded a new album on Playback Records and enjoyed some success with his single "You Changed A Rollin' Stone." The next year He contributed songs on a new gospel album on the Playback Label and in 1993 had a single "I Wish" on the independent charts.

In 199 Ernie's career again took off like a rocket when he recorded his 35th Grand Ole Opry Anniversary CD. One of the country songs on the CD "She Don't Drink, She Don't Smoke, But She Lies" hit the number # 4 spot on the European Country Music Charts. One of the gospel songs on the CD "Far Side Banks Of Jordan" hit the number #35 spot on the Gospel Charts. He had a number #1 song on the Independent National Charts "Lonely Only Bar." In May of 1999 Ernie was voted the #1 most programmed Independent Artist in Europe. Ernie is still an active member of the Grand Ole Opry and still plays road dates.


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