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This Week in Texas Music History: Mickey Newbury

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about the first-and-only four-way-hit songwriter.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Mickey Newbury was born on May 19, 1940, in Houston. He began his musical career while working on shrimp boats along the Gulf coast. In the early 1960s, Newbury moved to Nashville and joined a new generation of young Texas songwriters that included Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. In 1968, Newbury became the first and only songwriter to have No. 1 hits in four different musical genres at the same time. Dozens of artists have recorded Mickey Newbury’s songs, including Andy Williams, Eddy Arnold, Solomon Burke and the First Edition, featuring a young vocalist from Houston named Kenny Rogers.

Mickey Newbury moved to Oregon in the mid-1970s, where he continued to write songs until his death in 2002. In 2008, he was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a true visionary who helped redefine Texas-Mexican music.