Transition: Buck Owens, 1929-2006

He called his music "American," and he played it with a honky-tonk fervor on a red, white and blue guitar. Buck Owens, who died Saturday in his home in Bakersfield, Calif., at 76, was best known for his first No. 1 hit (out of more than 20), "Act Naturally," which he recorded in 1963--two years before Ringo Starr covered it for the Beatles. Then came "Together Again," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" and "My Heart Skips a Beat." From 1969 to 1986 he was cohost of "Hee Haw," which for many Americans north of the Mason-Dixon line was their first introduction to country music. Long ago he wrote his own obituary, saying he wanted to be remembered as "a guy that came along and did his music, did his best and showed up on time, clean and ready to do the job, wrote a few songs and had a hell of a time."

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