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|Birth name||Justin Strunk, Jr.|
June 11, 1936|
Jamestown, New York
|Died||October 5, 1981
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
|Labels||Columbia, MGM, MCA|
Born Justin Strunk, Jr. in Jamestown, New York, he was raised in Buffalo, New York, where as a small boy his showmanship became evident. After he learned to play the banjo, Strunk began entertaining locals and went on to wide recognition after appearances on national television network shows such as Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Although much of Strunk's material was humorous, his most popular song was not. "Daisy A Day", which Strunk wrote and recorded in 1973, is a gentle, sentimental ballad in 3/4 time, describing the relationship between a boy and girl that ultimately grow old together. For every day of their lives, he gives her a daisy as a sign of their love. In the last verse, she has died, but her widower husband continues to make daily visits to her grave. The song made the Billboard Top 20 on both the country and pop music charts. A cover version Een Roosje, M'n Roosje (A Rose, My Rose) by Conny Vandenbos reached No. 7 on the Dutch Top 40 hit list in 1974.
When Strunk performed this song on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (seated on a stool and accompanying himself on banjo), a bizarre decision was made to film his performance on a set resembling a lunar landscape, apparently to remind the audience that this song had been played on the moon. Jud Strunk was a regular member of the Laugh-In cast during its last season; he often reported fictitious sporting events direct "from Farmington, Maine."
Strunk also wrote three humorous songs that made it into the country music charts, and he toured with the Andy Williams Road Show. One of these songs, "The Biggest Parakeets in Town," was a tongue-in-cheek story of a woman who is a bird fancier. Its central joke is the unspoken pun of "parakeets/pair o'tits" used in the title. Other singles, such as "Next Door Neighbor's Kid" and the patriotic "My Country," appeared on various Billboard surveys. Strunk also scored a songwriting hit with “Bill Jones' General Store” [sic], the title track of his 1971 album of a similar name; Canadian musician Tommy Hunter charted in the top 20 on the country and adult contemporary charts in Canada with the song.
Strunk became a folk hero in Maine, and in 1970 narrowly lost the election for Senate seat in the state legislature. He was also a private pilot and purchased a 1941 Fairchild M62-A. On 5 October 1981, he suffered a heart attack while taking off in the aircraft at Carrabassett Valley Airport in Maine and was killed instantly along with his passenger, local businessman Dick Ayotte. He was 45 years old.
Jud's sons contribute to the Sugarloaf Community, with Jud's grandson performing onstage at The Rack on Sunday afternoons.
|1971||Jones' General Store||—||—||MGM|
|1973||Daisy a Day||18||138|
|1977||A Semi-Reformed Tequila Crazed Gypsy Looks Back||—||—||MCA|
|US Country||US||US AC||CAN Country||CAN||CAN AC|
|1973||"Daisy a Day"||33||14||4||18||3||5||Daisy a Day|
|"Next Door Neighbor's Kid"||86||—||—||85||—||50|
|1974||"My Country"||—||59||—||—||—||—||singles only|
|1975||"The Biggest Parakeets in Town"||51||50||—||20||71||—|
- 1997-2013 PlaneCrashInfo.com. "Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents 1980s". Retrieved 25 July 2013.