Claude Gray

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Claude Gray
Gray in 1967
Gray in 1967
Background information
Birth nameClaude Gray Jr.
Born(1932-01-25)January 25, 1932
Henderson, Texas, U.S.
DiedApril 28, 2023(2023-04-28) (aged 91)
Skokie, Illinois, U.S.
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1959–2023
WebsiteClaude Gray Official Website

Claude Gray Jr. (January 25, 1932 – April 28, 2023), nicknamed "The Tall Texan", was an American country music singer-songwriter and guitar picker best known for his 1960 hit "Family Bible", which has been covered by many different artists. Gray's other hit, "I'll Just Have a Cup of Coffee (Then I'll Go)", was covered and rearranged by Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter Bob Marley, who retitled the song as "One Cup Of Coffee".

Alongside artists such as Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson and Chet Atkins, Gray was a purveyor of the Nashville sound, embracing the Countrypolitan movement which paved the way for pop-oriented singers in country music and attracted new audiences to the genre.

Early life[edit]

Gray was born in Henderson, Texas, on January 25, 1932,[1][2] where he started his singing career while attending high school.[2] After school, he served in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1954. Upon his return to home, he worked as a salesman for the rest of the decade. He began a recording career in 1959, after working as a radio announcer in Kilgore, Texas, and performing as a disc jockey in Meridian, Mississippi.[3]


Gray was approached by D Records in 1959, and recorded "I'm Not Supposed", which was released as his first single. The song made the Cashbox country charts.[3] The following year, Gray and two friends purchased the song "Family Bible" from Willie Nelson[4] for $100.[5] Gray then recorded the song, and released it as a single.[3] It peaked at No. 10 on the country chart.[2] In 1961, "I'll Just Have a Cup of Coffee (Then I'll Go)", was released, which peaked at No. 4, and was followed by the biggest hit of Gray's career, the No. 3 "My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked About)", which was penned by Roger Miller.[2] Gray's final top ten hit came in 1967 with "I Never Had the One I Wanted", which was also his final charted song upon re-release in 1979.[6]

In the late 1970s, Gray co-wrote with Walt Breeland, a controversial song titled "The Ballad of Jimmy Hoffa". Gray's record label at the time (Mercury Records) refused to allow him to record the song, but he eventually recorded it for Ol' Podner Records, who subsequently released it directly to the Teamsters.[3] In 1986, he released a cover of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline".[3]

Gray continued to tour with The Claude Gray Roadshow, performing shows throughout North America and in parts of Europe, where classic country music remains popular.[citation needed]

Personal life and death[edit]

Gray was 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) and because of his height, was given the moniker, "The Tall Texan."[3]

On April 18, 2023, a social media post shared by a Gray family friend, stated that Gray had entered hospice care after the discovery of a large tumor on his brain, leaving him non-cognitive.[7] He died in Skokie, Illinois, on April 28, 2023, at the age of 91.[8][9]



Year Album US Country Label
1961 Songs of Broken Love Affairs Mercury
1962 Country Goes to Town
1967 Claude Gray Sings 45 Decca
1968 Easy Way
Treasure of Love Hilltop
1972 Presenting Million
1978 If I Ever Need a Lady Koala


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1958 "My Tears Are Inside" singles only
"Late Again"
1959 "I'm Not Supposed"
"Best Part of Me"
1960 "Family Bible" 10
"My Party's Over"
"Homecoming in Heaven"
1961 "I'll Just Have a Cup of Coffee (Then I'll Go)" 4 84 Songs of Broken Love Affairs
"My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked About)" 3
1962 "Let's End It Before It Begins" 26 singles only
"You Take the Table (And I'll Take the Chairs)"
"Daddy Stopped In" 20
1963 "Knock Again, True Love" 18
"First Love Never Dies"
"I'm Gonna Lie Again"
1964 "Eight Years (And Two Children Later)" 43
"Too Many Rivers"
1965 "Kinderhook Bill"
"Thank You for the Ride"
1966 "Mean Old Woman" 22
"I Never Had the One I Wanted" 9 Claude Gray Sings
1967 "Because of Him" 45 Easy Way
"If I Ever Need a Lady (I'll Call You)" 67
"How Fast Them Trucks Can Go" 12 Claude Gray Sings
1968 "Your Devil Memory" Easy Way
"Night Life" 31 25
"The Love of a Woman" 68 single only
1969 "Don't Give Me a Chance" 41 Easy Way
"Take Off Time" 34 singles only
1970 "The Cleanest Man in Cincinnati" 54
"Everything Will Be Alright" 40 27
1971 "Angel" 41
"Baton Rouge"
1972 "Jeannie" Presenting
"What Every Woman Wants to Hear" 66
1973 "Woman Ease My Mind" 58
"Loving You Is a Habit I Can't Break"
1976 "Rockin' My Memories (To Sleep)" 88 singles only
1977 "We Fell in Love That Way" 92
"It'll Do"
1978 "Slow Dancing"
"If I Ever Need a Lady" (re-recording) 68 If I Ever Need a Lady
1979 "I Never Had the One I Wanted" (re-recording) 78
"How Fast Them Trucks Can Go" singles only
"It Ain't the Wakin' Up"
1981 "Every Night Sensation"
"He's Just an Illusion"
1982 "Let's Go All the Way" (w/ Norma Jean) 68
"Who Sent My Ex to Texas"
1986 "Sweet Caroline" 77


  1. ^ "Today in History – Jan. 25". Fox News Channel. January 25, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1019. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Brennan, Sandra. "Claude Gray". AllMusic.
  4. ^ Gray, Jo (June 7, 1988). "Country music show to be one-night stand". Mohave Daily Miner.
  5. ^ Ward, Ed (April 30, 2008). "Willie Nelson: The Songwriter at 75". NPR.
  6. ^ "Claude Gray > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic.
  7. ^ "My Kind Of Country Music (Radio Station)". Facebook. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  8. ^ "Mr. Claude Gray Jr". Crawford-A.Crim Funeral Home. April 29, 2023. Retrieved April 29, 2023.
  9. ^ ""Family Bible" Singer, 'The Tall Texan' Claude Gray Has Died". April 30, 2023. Retrieved May 4, 2023.