If you read his new biography, you'll think so too.
*When Buck Owens and the Buckaroos played the Fillmore, Buck took a rolled-up paper from the crowd, thinking it was a song request. It turned out to be a joint, which an uninterested Buck passed to his band mates.
*After a car accident that necessitated 20 stitches in his head, guitarist Jim Shaw was forced by Buck to perform a show the night he was released from the hospital.
*On the set of Hee Haw Buck made more in a single day than all the band members would have made for all 51 episodes had they gotten their rightful union wages.
*Buck Owens’ iconic backwards overalls were in fact his attempt to protest having to wear them at all; this backfired, and the audience loved the look because it reinforced the character’s comic country bumpkin image.
*When Kris Black told Buck her parents were coming to visit, he fired her from her position as promotional director, and hired her back after her mom and dad returned home, just to ensure that he wouldn’t have to meet her folks.
*Following an interview in which Buck claimed he was lonely, a magazine reporter urged women readers to write to Buck proposing marriage. Buck received 20,000 letters, including one from a married man who claimed he could make Buck “as happy as any woman [could].”
*Buck posed nude for Playgirl in 1977, but the photos never went to print. Buck had purposely stipulated that the photos would need his approval (which he never gave) before getting published.
*In his lifetime, Buck accumulated 450 songwriter credits and recorded 47 top 10 singles.
*In 2005, Buck unveiled 10 bronze statues of country “legends” at his Crystal Palace. One of the statues was a likeness of Garth Brooks, who proposed to wife Trisha Yearwood at the Palace.
*The night of his death, Buck planned to cancel his nightly performance, but when he learned that fans had traveled from Oregon, he decided to give it a shot. He died in his sleep on March 24, 2006.
*Replacement musicians were hired not only on the basis of their talent, but on their clothing measurements. Replacement bassist Wayne Wilson had to suffer through two months of stuffing his size 10 feet into 8 1/2 boots because Buck was unwilling to buy a new pair.
Buck Owens: The Biography is out now on Chicago Review Press.
PW's Music Issue 2014