Guess Who Performed in Evansville: Part 9

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

This is the final stretch on Guess Who Performed in Evansville. Today, we are going back to the country music scene with this band. They are best known for their fiddle playing vocalist. As before, if you don’t know who this band is, here are three clues:

  1. The namesake of the band wrote the song, “It Hurts Me” and is sung by Elvis Presley.
  2. Along with several other bands and singers, they performed at the “Bridging Generations” pre-game show for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
  3. They are best known for their 1979 #1 hit song, “Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
Can you guess who the musician is?

The band is the Charlie Daniels Band.

Charlie Daniels, the namesake of the band, was born on October 28, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Daniels played for two bands, the Misty Mountain Boys and the Jaguars. He went back and forth in different music genres, between R&B, bluegrass, country, and rock. His career moved forward when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1967. By 1970, he recorded his first solo album, “Charlie Daniels” and two years later, Daniels formed his band, the Charlie Daniels Band. He struck successful with his third album, “Honey in the Rock”, with Uneasy Rider reaching #9 on the Billboard Charts in 1973.

Charlie Daniels playing guitar during concert, 1977. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-1404.

Daniels and his band continued releasing albums; but it wasn’t until 1979, they struck gold! Their song, “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, charted #1 on the Billboard Charts and won them a Grammy for Best Country Vocal. Less than a year later, the band appeared the film, “Urban Cowboy”. The band continued to succeed in the 1980’s and by 1990, Daniels was in the limelight for his song and album, “Simple Song”. The reason is because his thoughts of punishing drug dealers by different methods of dying, proving to be controversial. By 1994, Daniels went in a different musical decision. He released his first Christian music album (which helped him win the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Best Country Album) and in 1997, Daniels released his first children’s album, “By the Light of the Moon: Campfire Songs and Cowboy Tunes”.

Charlie Daniels playing the fiddle at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977.
Charlie Daniels playing the fiddle at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith Collection, MSS 034-1401.

The Charlie Daniels band continued roaring into the 2000’s in different ways to stay in American culture. The band performed at the pre-game show for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, played alongside Hank Williams, Jr. in Monday Night Football’s theme, and the National Anthem at the Outback Bowl in 2007. Finally, in 2008, the Charlie Daniels Band received their highest honor: they were inducted in the Grand Ole Opry and were inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

The Charlie Daniels Band, just like Boston, performed at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum. They performed on January 16, 1977. There was no high expectation for the band since they were unknown, but their concert was a success and the fans were impressed with their performance. Charlie Daniels and his band played songs from two of their albums: “Saddletramp” and “High Lonesome”. Daniels showed up his skills with his violin with the song, “The South’s Gonna Do It Again”. At the end of the concert, Charlie Daniels had a smile on his face, he enjoyed the Evansville audience (Young, 1977).

Charlie Daniels Band in concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977.
Charlie Daniels Band in concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-1409.

For more information, the Greg Smith collection at the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library at the University of Southern Indiana has over 1,500 photographs of Evansville history available online. Take a moment to explore his photographs of athletic events, local businesses, and many more. Stay tuned for our next addition of Guess Who Performed in Evansville.

References Consulted

Bernhardt, J. (n.d.). Charlie Daniels. https://countrymusichalloffame.org/artist/charlie-daniels/

Daniels, C. (2016). Bio. https://www.charliedaniels.com/bio

Daniels, C. (2016). Chronology. https://www.charliedaniels.com/chronology

Young, T. (1977, January 17). Daniels band is a hit. The Evansville Press. https://bit.ly/3abbN6D

This entry was posted in Evansville, Indiana, Guess Who Performed in Evansville, Local history, music. Bookmark the permalink.

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