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Mel McDaniel

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Mel McDaniel
McDaniel in 2006
McDaniel in 2006
Background information
Birth nameMelvin Huston McDaniel
Born(1942-09-06)September 6, 1942
Checotah, Oklahoma, U.S.
OriginOkmulgee, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedMarch 31, 2011(2011-03-31) (aged 68)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1975–2011

Melvin Huston McDaniel (September 6, 1942 – March 31, 2011)[1] was an American country music artist. Many of his top hits were released in the 1980s, including "Louisiana Saturday Night", "Big Ole Brew", "Stand Up", "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" (which reached number one on the country chart), "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 were positive in their outlook, McDaniel told the Anchorage Daily News that "there's enough things in the world to keep you bummed out" and that his fans did not want to "hear me singing something that's gonna bum 'em out some more."[2]


Early life[edit]

McDaniel was born in Checotah, Oklahoma,[3] a small town in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, and 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.[3] 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 15 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".[3]


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 at clubs among the oil fields.[3] 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, McDaniel signed to Capitol Records in 1976 and released his first single, "Have a Dream on Me".[3]

His career finally took off with "Louisiana Saturday Night" in 1981, and in early 1985 he scored his only number one hit with "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On".[3] 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".[3]

McDaniel became a member of the Grand Ole Opry on 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.[4]

Later years, health, and death[edit]

On November 14, 1996, he had a nearly fatal fall into an orchestra pit while he was performing at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. The accident ended his touring career, and he underwent several surgeries thereafter. McDaniel never fully 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.[citation needed] McDaniel's wife, Peggy, requested the prayers of the singer's fans, saying his situation was "not good."[5] McDaniel recovered from the heart attack, but on February 19, 2011, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and died at his home on the evening of March 31, as a result of the disease. He was 68 years old.[6]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1986 "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" Best Male Country Vocal Performance Nominated

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1987 Mel McDaniel Favorite Country Male Video Artist Nominated

Music City News Country Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1986 "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" Single of the Year Nominated

Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1978 Mel McDaniel Top New Male Vocalist Nominated
1986 "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" Single Record of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated

Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1985 Mel McDaniel Horizon Award Nominated
"Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" Single of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ "» Died On This Date (March 31, 2011) Mel McDaniel / Country Music Star". Themusicsover.com. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Perala, Andrew (October 19, 1989). "Good Ol' Boy". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 249. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  4. ^ "By Year". Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "Mel McDaniel Battles for Life - News - Country Weekly Magazine". Archived from the original on July 10, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  6. ^ "Mel McDaniel Dead at 68". Theboot.com. Retrieved July 19, 2016.


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

External links[edit]