George Hamilton IV
Recognized for his smooth, folk-influenced voice, George Hamilton IV passed away in a Nashville hospital following a heart attack. He was 77. A 50-year Grand Ole Opry veteran, Hamilton was the first country artist to perform behind the Iron Curtain and earned the title of "International Ambassador of Country Music." Born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he became a teen idol in the early days of rock & roll with the 1956 single "A Rose and a Baby Ruth." Tours with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers followed. His best-known hit, the 1963 crossover smash "Abilene," spent four weeks atop the country chart and peaked at Number 15 on the pop chart. The host of a Canadian TV show for six years, Hamilton also played the role of narrator for Patsy Cline: The Musical, which ran from 1993 to 1998 and played London's West End in 1994.