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Country Music Community And Friends Mourn The Loss Of Ralph Emery

Ralph Emery

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country Music Hall of Fame member Ralph Emery has passed away at age 88. Emery was a legendary disc jockey and television host who rose to fame during the late-night hours on Nashville’s WSM, where he hosted and allowed many new artists a chance to be heard for the first time. Throughout his career, Emery hosted Pop! Goes The Country, Nashville Now, Ralph Emery Live, Ralph Emery’s Memories, and more. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2010, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Artists mourn the loss of their friend and share memories of one of the industry’s true mentors, Ralph Emery:

“We are saddened this week at the losses of Dallas Frazier, Jerry Crutchfield, and now, Ralph Emery. Ralph was not only a legendary personality but a dear friend who meant so much to The Oak Ridge Boys’ career. If Ralph liked you … EVERYONE liked you! it would seem a lot of folks are going home these days so CELEBRATE LIFE FRIENDS. Life is God’s greatest gift this side of salvation. Goodbye Ralph, Jerry, and Dallas. See you at the House.” – Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys

“Ralph Emery was my friend. I did his show many times and he was kind enough to send me a Christmas card every year. He had that special country music knowledge and that voice. Ralph was to country music what Mel Allen was to the Yankees.” – Don McLean

“I am heartbroken to learn that the man who believed in me when I wasn’t even sure I believed in myself after my partner and I had parted company and I found myself a solo artist has been called home by the Lord. Ralph Emery was so good to me I adored him and I know that it was mutual. He brought me to Nashville to appear on Nashville Now so many times long before and of course after I’d recorded “Rainy Night In Georgia” with Conway. Ralph believed in me, he believed in my talent, and he presented me always in the best light, giving me the opportunity to shine. Gratitude, honor, and love Ralph, forever and always.” – Sam Moore

“The passing of my long-time friend Ralph Emery is devastating. His friendship to me and his contribution to country music will never be surpassed. It’s going to be tough not having him to turn to for advice. He was so kind to help guide me throughout my career as a friend and artist. Just knowing him made me a better person. My prayers go out to Joy and the family during this very sad time. R.I.P. my dear friend.” – T.G. Sheppard

“It was great leaders like Ralph Emery who helped build careers for so many of us performers. May God Rest his soul.” – Janie Fricke

“Ralph Emery just crossed over the river Jordan. If it were not for his generosity, I wouldn’t have had a career. He had me on his hugely popular show, “Nashville Now”, 56 times. The importance of that exposure to millions of country music fans cannot be overstated. He was a dear friend and we shared many good times together. He helped countless artists and was a giant figure in country music history. Sheila and I loved him very, very much and will miss him deeply. What a guy!!” – T. Graham Brown

“My earliest memories of Ralph Emery are listening to him on WSM Radio.  My dad would talk about when he was married to Grand Ole Opry Star Skeeter Davis, and how she would pop in the studio and talk on the air during his late-night shift. Hearing my father talk about this, and listening to Ralph years later on the radio, became a vivid picture in my mind. For many years, Ralph Emery was the heartbeat of country music. He hosted Nashville Now on The Nashville Network. That’s where I came to know him best. He featured the best of the best on his show. Also hosted a morning show in Nashville. His passing is a great loss to the country music community, and he will long be remembered as the host of Nashville for many many years.” – Rhonda Vincent

“I remember when I first got signed to Curb Records, I did the Ralph Emery Show. He was filming it at the Opryland Hotel where I had played prior to getting the deal. I’ll never forget it. I sat between Ralph Emery and Ray Price. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I have missed hearing his voice on a regular basis for years. He will be sorely missed.” – Jeff Carson

“I first met Ralph Emery in Nashville with my brother Lefty at WSM Radio and then got to know him better in the early 80s with my singing partner Shelly West on The Nashville Now TV show.” – David Frizzell

“I am heartbroken to hear about the passing of my dear friend and father figure Ralph Emery. I will miss him so very much, but I know in my heart he is in a better place. Thank you Ralph for believing in me and playing such an important role in my life. Rest in peace.” – Kelly Lang

“Ralph Emery was a big part of my life. I played the Ralph Emery Morning Show for 14 years, and I later played piano on TNN’s Nashville Now as a regular sub for Jerry Whitehurst. Ralph broke records and made stars on WSM radio; then he introduced those same stars to a television audience and in the process became a household name himself. Ralph Emery was country music! I send my condolences and prayers to his wife Joy and the rest of his family and friends.” – Tim Atwood

“Ralph Emery was truly a one of a kind and legend in country music. Many artists owe their start to him, myself included. I will never forget his kindness and prayers to his family.” – Johnny Lee

“Talk about someone who makes a profound effect on your life, not only by his words but by his actions as well. He was sneaky. He would sneak up and be there for you when you least expected it. He was a friend and will forever be missed.” – Lulu Roman, HEE HAW

“Ralph Emery was a Country music Hall of Famer and broadcast star. I had the opportunity to meet him and I’m saddened by his passing. We lost another true legend!” – Shane Owens

“Prayers to the family of the Legendary Ralph Emery. One of the most iconic voices on the national airwaves. Sad to hear the news this morning from Nashville. Remember watching Ralph with my grandmother growing up. What a great life and career. He will be missed.” – JD Shelburne 

“Ralph was such a great guy. I remember when we first met. It was my first time appearing on Nashville Now. He was extremely kind to me and made me feel right at home. Ralph loved traditional country music and you could tell that he really enjoyed what he did. He will truly be missed but, he’s getting one heck of a show in heaven by all of his friends who went before him.” – Jason Byrd

Members of the Country Music Hall of Fame gather before the 2016 Medallion Ceremony. Pictured are (back row, l-r): The Oak Ridge Boys’ Duane Allen; Garth Brooks; Bobby Bare; The Oak Ridge Boys’ William Lee Golden, Richard Sterban, and Joe Bonsall; The Jordanaire’s Curtis Young; Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Board Chairman Steve Turner; Dolly Parton; CMA CEO Sarah Trahern; CMA Board Chairman John Esposito; Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young; Alabama’s Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry; Vince Gill; and Charley Pride; (seated, l-r): Ralph Emery; Jo Walker-Meador; Harold Bradley; Kris Kristofferson; 2016 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees Charlie Daniels, Fred Foster, and Randy Travis; Brenda Lee; Charlie McCoy; E.W. “Bud” Wendell; and Roy Clark. (Photo by Donn Jones)