Guitarist Don Helms dies at 81

Posted: Tue., Aug. 12, 2008, 11:30am PT

Played with Hank Williams, Patsy Cline

Don Helms, a renowned steel guitarist who played in Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys band and on country classics by Patsy Cline and Lefty Frizzell, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 81.

Helms died Monday in Nashville at Skyline Medical Center, said Michael Thomas, a director at Forest Lawn Funeral Home.

Helms, of New Brockton, Ala., was an original member of Williams’ Drifting Cowboys and provided the signature steel guitar parts on tunes like “Cold, Cold Heart” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

Variety’s complete Obituary is here.

This is the fourth celebrity death of late.  I thought they only came in threes, but I pray that since this is the third musician of the four, the streak is over.

R.I.P Mr. Helms.

Published in: on August 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very sad news. In many ways Don defined a generation of country music. He was a true star and will greatly missed.

  2. This should have been given a great deal more press than it has. Surely this man is equally if not more influential than the likes of Hendrix. This man helped create some of the greatest music of the last century. Im Australian and you do not have to be a country fan (which i am) to know Hanks songs.

    This era of Country is thankfully starting to overtake the bland MOR disgraces of the last few decades. Over here in Melbourne there has been a big growth in roots music. Im so glad he at least got to see his music making a welcomed comeback before he left us.

  3. I too am not a “diehard” country fan, but I know of Mr. Helms music, talent and influence. Talent knows no genre in my mind.

    Maybe I’m a bit prejudice — since I love the sound of the steel guitar (LOL) — but I agree with you SOI that the press coverage of Helms’ passing has been close to none here in the states. Frankly I have yet to hear about it in any of the regular major media channels (tv, radio,newspaper, magazines). I only came across the sad news news by accident while surfing the web.

    It is a pleasure to meet you both, “Indie Country Fan” and “Subjects of Interest”. I welcome your comments and wish had met under cheerier circumstances.

    Hope to see you both again real soon.


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