Charlie Daniels, the legendary country music singer and songwriter best known for his hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” has died, according to multiple reports. He was 83.
Family members said in a statement posted on Daniels’ website that funeral arrangements would be announced in the coming days.
Born October 28, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina, Daniels began his career as a session musician. He worked for artists including Leonard Cohen, Ringo Starr and, most famously, Bob Dylan during his “Nashville Skyline” sessions.
He formed the Charlie Daniels Band in 1972 and saw early success with the release of “Uneasy Rider,” PBS reported. Two years later the band released “Fire on the Mountain,” which was certified gold within months of its release.
Speaking with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Daniels credited his band’s success to their out-of-the-ordinary style.
“We were country but not what was accepted by the country music establishment at the time -- certainly not what Nashville was putting out at the time,” Daniels said, according to PBS. “It was very much different from that. Every other music was changing and moving and cooking, and it was time for country to do that, too. And a song like ‘Long Haired Country Boy,' or ‘The South’s Going to Do It,' or ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia,' kind of kicked it in the rear end a little bit.”
In 1974, Daniels launched Volunteer Jam, an annual musical extravaganza that for decades in Nashville and featured often unannounced performances by entertainers including Don Henley, Amy Grant, James Brown, Pat Boone, Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, Alabama, Billy Joel, Little Richard, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eugene Fodor and Woody Herman.
Over the course of his decadeslong career, Daniels has earned several accolades and sold more than 13.5 million records.
In 2008, when Daniels was 71, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. One year later he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. In 2016, he was hailed as a “pioneer in introducing southern rock sounds into mainstream country music” and inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Daniels is survived by his wife, Hazel, and his son, Charlie Daniels Jr., the Tennessean reported.
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