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Fresh Air Remembers Country Music Artist Ray Price

Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price, pictured above in 1983, died Monday at age 87.
Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price, pictured above in 1983, died Monday at age 87.

Pioneering country music artist Ray Price — who created hits like "Heartaches by the Number" — died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 87 years old. Price was born in Cherokee County, Texas, in 1926. When he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, he was described by musician Kris Kristofferson as a living link from Hank Williams to the country music of today.

He worked with Hank Williams' band, and helped give several country performers their starts. Early in their careers, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Bush played in Price's band, the Cherokee Cowboys. He recorded albums for decades — and when Terry Gross interviewed Price in 1999, he was about to release another one, Prisoner of Love.

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