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We lost Waylon Jennings and many other great talents in 2002


Anyone who ever fell to pieces when they heard Patsy Cline's "I Fall To Pieces," Ray Price's "Heartaches By The Number" or dozens of other country classics owes a debt of gratitude to their composer, Harlan Howard. One of country's greatest songwriters, Harlan passed away - with a smile on his face, according to his wife, Melanie - March 3 at age 74, at his home in Nashville.


The man who composed Jim Reeves' "He'll Have To Go" and Faron Young's "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young" passed away Aug. 2 from respiratory failure. He was 77. In addition to songwriting, Joe was also a recording executive, radio personality, publisher, producer and a founding board member of the CMA. His songs were recorded by everyone from Elvis to Bing Crosby to Patsy Cline, and he was a member of the Country Disc Jockeys Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.


A multi-instrumentalist for legendary Irish group The Chieftains, Derek died at age 66 in October. His passing came just after the release of Down The Old Plank Road, an album made in collaboration with country stars like Martina McBride and Vince Gill.


Waylon Jennings once contended that, "If you don't like to hear Mickey Newbury sing, then you're not American." Mickey had a pop hit with the 1971 "An American Trilogy" (later recorded by Elvis), but he was much better known as the writer of hits for others, such as Kenny Rogers And The First Edition's "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" and Eddy Arnold's "Here Comes The Rain, Baby." The native Texan died Sept. 29 from emphysema, at age 62.


Born Beecher Kirby, "Bashful" Brother Oswald was one of country's best-loved musicians. With his hillbilly outfit and outgoing personality, he was actually anything but bashful. But his talent was no joke - his guitar and Dobro work were essential to Roy Acuff's most famous recordings. The Grand Ole Opry member died on Oct. 17 at age 90.


The author of Tammy Wynette's "Apartment #9" and Glen Campbell's "Try A Little Kindness" died in January at age 68.


The 41-year-old songwriter and drummer whose tunes were recorded by stars like Garth Brooks, Tracy Byrd and Kenny Rogers died on June 4 after being struck on the head outside his home near Nashville. Two of his songs appear on Darryl Worley's latest album, I Miss My Friend.


Cowboys ain't easy to love, and they're harder to hold, Waylon Jennings once warned us. Ornery as he could be, Waylon was easy to love.

But sure enough, he proved impossible to hold, slipping away from us on Feb. 13. Complications from diabetes, which had already caused the amputation of his foot, finally took him at age 64 at his home in Arizona.

His death brought the country-music world to a standstill, as friends, fans and admirers were rocked by the passing of a man many would have imagined was simply too tough to die.

From playing bass for Buddy Holly in the 1950s, to crashing Nashville in the '60s, bucking its establishment with his outlaw philosophy in the 1970s, and his elder-statesman status as a hero to a whole generation of country singers, Waylon left a mighty mark.


The writer of the Clay Walker hit "The Chain Of Love" died Aug. 18 at age 56 after suffering a stroke.