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Whatever Happened To Mel Street?

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Mel Street was not a ‘cosmopolitan’ country music singer.  He wasn’t ‘urban’ country.  What was he?

Well, when I started in radio back in the 1970’s I considered Mel Street (and Gary Stewart) a great honky-tonk country music artist in the tradition of 1950’s country music.

Mel had absolutely no problem singing about hard-core cheatin’ and broken hearts. His first big hit single was 1972’s “Borrowed Angel.”

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He followed that up with “Lovin’ On Back Streets” and by the time I started in this business in 1974, Mel Street was a country music star.

Personally, my favorite Mel Street hit was “Smokey Mountain Memories” from 1975.  Just a beautiful cut.

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But there is something you may not know about this great country artist. Mel Street’s life was cut tragically short, and by his own hand.

Mel committed suicide on his 43rd birthday, October 21, 1978.  There were reports he suffered from clinical depression, alcoholism and loneliness from being on the road almost constantly and away from family and friends.  Whatever it was, there is never a good reason for suicide.

We lost a great artist, but he left us with great classic country music.

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