Mel McDaniel

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Mel McDaniel
Mel McDaniel 2006.jpg
McDaniel in 2006. (Photo by Sisterphotography)
Background information
Birth name Melvin Huston McDaniel
Born (1942-09-06)September 6, 1942
Checotah, Oklahoma
Origin Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Died March 31, 2011(2011-03-31) (aged 68)
Nashville, Tennessee
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 1975–1996
2005–2011
Labels Capitol
Associated acts Chuck Berry

Melvin Huston "Mel" McDaniel (September 6, 1942 – March 31, 2011[1]) was an American country music artist. His chart-making years were mainly the 1980s with his hits from that era including "Louisiana Saturday Night", "Big Ole Brew", "Stand Up", the Number One "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On", "I Call It Love", "Stand on It", and a remake of Chuck Berry's "Let It Roll (Let It Rock)".

McDaniel's type of country music has been referred to as "the quintessential happy song" in comparison to other country artists who discuss broken hearts and lost loves. When asked why most of his songs are mostly positive, McDaniel told the Anchorage Daily News that "there's enough things in the world to keep you bummed out" and that his fans don't want to "hear me singing something that's gonna bum 'em out some more."[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Melvin Huston "Mel" McDaniel was born in Checotah, Oklahoma, a small town in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. McDaniel, the son of a truck driving father, grew up in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He was inspired to play music after seeing Elvis Presley on television. His first interest in music was when he learned the trumpet in the fourth grade, but he soon learned the guitar. At age 14, he taught himself the guitar chords to "Frankie and Johnny" and performed at a high-school talent contest. He made his professional debut at age fifteen performing in a talent contest at Okmulgee High School. While in high school, he played in several local bands, and after graduation, began working as a musician in Tulsa clubs. While in Tulsa, he recorded several singles for local label (J.J. Cale and wrote and produced his first single, “Lazy Me”. But he decided to leave Oklahoma.

Career[edit]

After marrying his high school sweetheart, McDaniel began performing in Tulsa. From there, he had an unsuccessful trip to Nashville, followed by quite a bit of success in Anchorage, Alaska performing in the oil fields. After two years there, he returned to Nashville and landed a job as a demo singer and songwriter with Combine Music. With the help of music publisher Bob Beckham, Mel signed to Capitol Records in 1976 and released his first single, “Have a Dream on Me”.

His career finally took off with “Louisiana Saturday Night” in 1981, and in early 1985 he scored his only No. 1 hit with "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On". Other Top 10 hits include "Right in the Palm of Your Hand" (later covered by Alan Jackson in 1999), "Take Me to the Country", "Big Ole Brew", "I Call It Love", and "Real Good Feel Good Song".

McDaniel was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since January 11, 1986 and made frequent appearances on the show.

McDaniel was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2006, along with induction classmate Leon Russell.[3]

Later years and death[edit]

On November 14, 1996, he had a near-fatal fall into an orchestra pit while he was performing at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. This ended his touring career and he underwent several surgeries thereafter. McDaniel never recovered from his injuries. On June 16, 2009, McDaniel suffered a heart attack, putting him in a medically induced coma in a Nashville area hospital according to The Tennessean. Mel's wife, Peggy, requested the prayers of the singer's fans, saying his situation was "not good." [4] McDaniel had since recovered from his heart attack. On February 19, 2011, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died at home on the evening of March 31, 2011 as a result of the disease.[5]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
US Country
1977 Gentle to Your Senses
  • Release date: October 1977
  • Label: Capitol Records
45
1978 Mello
  • Release date: July 17, 1978
  • Label: Capitol Records
1980 I'm Countryfied
  • Release date: November 10, 1980
  • Label: Capitol Records
24
1982 Take Me to the Country
  • Release date: April 5, 1982
  • Label: Capitol Records
43
1983 Naturally Country
  • Release date: April 8, 1983
  • Label: Capitol Records
63
1984 Mel McDaniel with Oklahoma Wind
  • Release date: February 17, 1984
  • Label: Capitol Records
64
1985 Let It Roll
  • Release date: February 22, 1985
  • Label: Capitol Records
4
Stand Up
  • Release date: September 13, 1985
  • Label: Capitol Records
25
1986 Just Can't Sit Down Music
  • Release date: September 19, 1986
  • Label: Capitol Records
1988 Now You're Talkin'
  • Release date: January 13, 1988
  • Label: Capitol Records
51
1989 Rock-a-billy Boy
  • Release date: January 11, 1989
  • Label: Capitol Records
1991 Country Pride
  • Release date: May 13, 1991
  • Label: DPI Records
2006 Reloaded
  • Release date: April 25, 2006
  • Label: Stand UP / Aspirion Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
US Country
1987 Greatest Hits
  • Release date: June 19, 1987
  • Label: Capitol Records
43
1993 Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On
  • Release date: July 7, 1993
  • Label: Branson Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1975 "Lazy Me" N/A
1976 "Have a Dream on Me" 51
"I Thank God She Isn't Mine" 70
1977 "All the Sweet" 39
"Gentle to Your Senses" 18 Gentle to Your Senses
"Soul of a Honky Tonk Woman" 27
"God Made Love" 11 12
1978 "The Farm" 80 Mello
"Bordertown Woman" 26 56
1979 "Love Lies" 33 38 N/A
"Play Her Back to Yesterday" 24 23
"Lovin' Starts Where Friendship Ends" 27 39
1980 "Hello Daddy, Good Morning Darling" 39 I'm Countryfied
"Countryfied" 23
1981 "Louisiana Saturday Night" 7 21
"Right in the Palm of Your Hand" 10 17
"Preaching Up a Storm" 19 37 Take Me to the Country
1982 "Take Me to the Country" 10 22
"Big Ole Brew" 4 4
"I Wish I Was in Nashville" 20
1983 "Old Man River (I've Come to Talk Again)" 22 31 Naturally Country
"Hot Time in Old Town Tonight" 39
"I Call It Love" 9 29 Mel McDaniel with Oklahoma Wind
1984 "Where'd That Woman Go" 49
"Most of All I Remember You" 59
"All Around the Water Tank" 64
"Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" 1 1 Let It Roll
1985 "Let It Roll (Let It Rock)" 6 6
"Stand Up" 5 3 Stand Up
1986 "Shoe String" 22 18
"Doctor's Orders" 53 47
"Stand on It" 12 5 Just Can't Sit Down Music
1987 "Oh What a Night" 56
"Anger & Tears" 49 32 Greatest Hits
"Love Is Everywhere" 60 57
"Now You're Talkin'" 64 42 Now You're Talkin'
1988 "Ride This Train" 58
"Real Good Feel Good Song" 9 4
"Henrietta" 62 *
1989 "Walk That Way" 54 * Rock-a-Billy Boy
"Blue Suede Blues" 70 68
"You Can't Play the Blues (In an Air-Conditioned Room)" 80 57
2006 "Horseshoes & Hand Grenades" Reloaded
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
* denotes unknown peak positions

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1985 "Let It Roll (Let It Rock)" George Bloom III
"Stand Up"
1988 "Real Good Feel Good Song" Kenneth Brown
"Henrietta" George Bloom III
"Goodbye Johnny"
1990 "Turtles and Rabbits"
1991 "My Ex-Life" Carolyn Betts

References[edit]

  • Millard, Bob (1998). "Mel McDaniel". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 337.

External links[edit]