John Rex, his sister Symantha and brother Joe Max.
John Rex, with his wife Neva, is carrying on the legacy of Jim Reeves with his Jim Reeves Tribute Show in Branson, MO.
Good afternoon and welcome. In behalf of the Reeves family, we would like to welcome the many fans and friends of Jim Reeves to this very special occasion. We would like to thank the city of Shreveport, the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, the Walk of Stars Committee, and all the other folks who so graciously supported the idea to include Jim in the Walk of Stars. What a great day for Jim, the Reeves family and Country Music. The Louisiana Hayride was beyond a doubt the Cradle for the Stars. It definitely was the turning point for Jim's musical career. As an announcer on KWKH, he was exposed to big time country music. His first big hit, Mexican Joe, came while at the Hayride, and from there he signed with RCA, moved to Nashville, and joined the Grand Ole Opry. In 1956 the song, Four Walls, went #1 country and #11 pop. RCA then knew which way to take Jim--soft, heartfelt ballads. In 1958 Billy Bayou went #1. By this time Jim was riding high in the country and pop charts. He was touring world-wide, and every song he had was reaching the top 10. Then in 1959 a song called He'll Have to Go went #1 country and reached #2 in the pop charts. That song still remains as one of the top 100 songs ever recorded in country music. Moving along to 1964, Jim had the song I Guess I'm Crazy at #1 when he died July 31, 1964. While flying his own plane, he and Dean Manuel, his piano player, were returning to Nashville from a business trip when they crashed during a thunderstorm. RCA kept releasing the songs that Jim had personally chosen and had in his catalog. Jim kept a song in the charts from July, 1964 to January, 1984--20 years in which 5 went #1 and 8 were in the top ten.
After 43 years he still remains #14 in overall sales, popularity and air play. Recently he was presented an award for the Artist Who Most Influenced Country Music Internationally by the Academy of Country Music in Nashville. For a farm boy from East Texas, the Louisiana Hayride here in Shreveport provided the break that he needed to become one of the greatest singers who every lived.
While in a position to meet and visit with thousands of Jim's fans from all around the world each year in Branson, Missouri, the thing that I enjoy most is hearing fans tell me how Jim's music has touched their lives down through the years. Jim knew how to touch the human heart. To me, that is what country music is all about. My mind goes back to the little town of Latex--just 3 miles over the LA-TX border where on Saturday afternoons we couldn't wait to clean up, dress up, and head for Shreveport. First to Southern Maid Do-nuts (a visit with Billy and Lilly, the talking Minor birds), then on to the Municipal Auditorium for the Hayride. I can still hear, just prior to the show, one of the announcers would say, "How many folks are here from Texas?" The crowd would start to roar, and at its peak, Horace Logan would say as the curtain opened, "The Louisiana Hayride!" and the show was on its way!
Thank you Shreveport, the Louisiana Hayride and all the country music fans for all those fond memories, and thank you for opening the door and offering Jim a chance to be great. He didn't let us down. Long live the Walk of Stars as others will soon become a part of this great heritage. What an honor! Jim surely would be very proud!