Country Star Randy Barlow Has Passed Away

Traditional country artist Randy Barlow, known for his string of Top 10 hits in the late 70’s, and for being a staunch supporter of traditional country music throughout his life, has passed away after a battle with Cancer. Barlow had surgery on his back in June, and during the procedure, a very aggressive form of small cell carcinoma Cancer was discovered affecting his liver, pancreas, and bones, according to his wife Carol Nims. Barlow was placed in hospice care, and passed away Thursday morning (7-30). He was 77-years-old.

Born March 29th, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan as Randy Moore, he began playing music at the age of 6 after receiving a guitar as a Christmas gift. Barlow played music throughout his upbringing including in a local band called The Royal Lancers. Growing up in Motor City and, specifically in the Garden City neighborhood would go on to influence Barlow’s music, including one of his best-known songs, “Willow Run,” named after the General Motors Transmission Plant located in Garden City where his father worked.

Attending Western Kentucky University is where Randy Barlow’s musical passions broadened from Detroit rock to country and Western, playing in a band called E.A. Poe and the Ravens and also The Cavaliers. But before Barlow would become best-known for putting his life into country songs, he got his start in the music business working as an announcer and road manager for Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tour, then later becoming the driver and road manager for Herman’s Hermits.

This led Barlow to the West Coast where he played in show bands in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and in a band called Orange County Line. This is also where he first began to pursue a career as a recording artist, but with minimal success with his first few singles.

In 1974, Barlow signed a recording contract and found his first success with “Throw Away the Pages,” which became a minor hit in country. This inspired him to move to Nashville, which resulted in numerous Top 40 country hits, including “California Lady,” “Kentucky Woman,” and the #18 hit “Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. This put Barlow on the national map.

From there Randy Barlow found his greatest commercial fame, stringing together four consecutive Top 10 hits with “Slow and Easy,” “No Sleep Tonight,” “Fall in Love with Me Tonight,” and “Sweet Melinda.” This earned Barlow a nomination for Best New Male Artist from the Academy of Country Music, and appearances on the popular television shows Hee-Haw and The Porter Wagoner Show. His success continued into the early 80’s with “Love Dies Hard,” and a country version of the song “Lay Back in the Arms of Someone” made famous by the English Band Smokie. Barlow also toured extensively throughout the period.

But as is often the case, the lack of massive commercial success meant that Randy Barlow was left behind by the industry, but he never stopped singing and playing. Throughout the 80’s and up to 2015, Randy Barlow became a fixture of Nashville clubs, playing his own music and cover songs, as well as working as a writer and producer throughout town. This resulted in him being inducted into the Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. He was also inducted into the Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

By 2017, Randy Barlow had moved to Florida with his wife Carol, living in Palmetto, and continued to perform. Like many artists, much of Randy’s music went out-of-print, but he was able to re-release his music in digital form in 2014.

“My best friend, my soulmate, my hero, my cowboy, my rock that I lean on, has finished his journey here on earth…heaven has a new angel as of 12:30 this morning,” said his wife Carol Nims. “I know he will wear his angel wings well… there are no words to describe the emptiness I feel now… only a hollow aching where my heart should be beating that only time will heal…I am sure Randy will reach down and touch me on the shoulder to help me through these next few days.”

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