b. 6 June 1911, Broad Top Mountain, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 1 March 1988. Although he sang and played steel guitar, guitar and mandolin, Horton is remembered as a songwriter. He played in college bands and with dance bands before his talented steel guitar playing led him to country music. In 1935, he and his brother Roy (bass) moved to New York City, where later with others including Ray Smith, Rusty Keefer and Johnny Browers, they formed the Pinetoppers and had their own show on NBC and CBS radio. The group’s vocals were by the Beaver Valley Sweethearts (Trudy and Gloria Marlin). In 1950, they had a number 3 country and number 10 pop hit with Horton’s song ‘Mockin’ Bird Hill’. (The song was also a US country Top 10 for Les Paul And Mary Ford and a US pop hit for Patti Page in 1951. It later reappeared in the UK pop charts, in 1964, for the Migil Five (as ‘Mockingbird Hill’) and in the US country charts for Donna Fargo in 1977). Horton later claimed that the song, which he wrote on a train, was recorded more than 400 times and sold in excess of 20 million copies. Other Horton songs to be successfully recorded by other artists include ‘Address Unknown’ (Gene Autry), ‘Hillbilly Fever’ (Little Jimmy Dickens), ‘Sugarfoot Rag’ (Red Foley), ‘An Old Christmas Card’ (Jim Reeves), ‘Teardrops In My Heart’ (Marty Robbins and Rex Allen Jnr. ) and ‘Choo Choo Ch’boogie’ (Asleep At The Wheel). Horton was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association, International Hall Of Fame in 1971. He retired to Florida where he died in 1988.
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