Full Name: Wyatt Merle Kilgore

Description: Singer-Songwriter, USA

Known For: Co-writing with June Carter Cash the song Ring of Fire

Instruments: Acoustic Guitar

Music Styles: Country

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 9th August 1934
Location Born: Chickasha, Oklahoma, United States of America

Date Died: 6th February 2005
Location Died: United States of America

Web Site:  Official website

Other Links: See below:



Merle Kilgore

An American singer, songwriter, and manager.

As a boy of 14 he carried the guitar for Hank Williams at the Louisiana Hayride beginning a close relationship with the Williams family that would last three generations.

Kilgore went on to a career as a country music recording artist but had great success as a songwriter, co-writing with June Carter Cash the song Ring of Fire, first recorded by her sister Anita Carter and later by June’s future husband, Johnny Cash (Kilgore was a distant cousin of the Carter sisters through their maternal grandmother, Margaret Kilgore Addington).

He also wrote Claude King’s big crossover hit, Wolverton Mountain. Amongst others, he also penned “Johnny Reb” for Johnny Horton and the Tommy Roe pop music hit, The Folk Singer. In the early 1960s, he toured with Cash as part of his package show.

A resident of Paris, Tennessee, since 1986, he was also a prominent member of the business community. On April 7, 1986, he was named Executive Vice President and head of management of Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises. In addition to managing Hank Williams Jr’s career (along with that of Hank Jr’s Bama Band), Merle managed a number of other artists from his Nashville, In office.

Merle’s prominence in the country music community had grown in recent years through his involvement as Vice President of the Country Music Association and he had served on the CMA Board of Directors since 1989.

In 1993, Merle was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was also inducted into Shreveport’s Byrd High School Hall of Fame.

In 1998, Merle received the Legendary Songwriters’ Award from the North American County Music Association.

Merle was a long-time member of the Academy of Country Music and an active member of the Screen Actors Guild.

In 2005, Merle Kilgore died from congestive heart failure while receiving treatment for lung cancer, and was interred in Hendersonville Memory Gardens in Hendersonville, Tennessee.