Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bossier High Alumnus Becomes Country Star

Trade ad for David Houston's single "Livin' in a House Full of Love," Nov. 13, 1965.
Epic Records [Public Domain];
David Houston was an American country music artist, television performer, and actor who rose to fame in the 1960s. He was born on Dec. 9, 1935, in Bossier City to Ora Eugene “Gene” and Beatrice Lee Houston as Charles David Houston, and he was a descendant of Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. His godfather was 1920s pop singer Gene Austin.

On a side note, Gene Austin’s daughter, actress Charlotte Austin, visited the Houston’s here in Bossier City during the summer of 1953 when she served as an honorary judge for the Miss Physical Culture contest at the Municipal Auditorium.

Before graduating from Bossier High School in 1953, Houston was already performing locally at benefits and programs. In Nov. of 1952, Houston performed at a talent show during the 13th annual Kiwanis Club benefit raising money to send underprivileged children to the Kiwanis summer camp on Caddo Lake.

After the performance, The Times published an article by Pericles Alexander, who wrote, “With no show complete without a fold artist, ‘Hits and Bits’ presented David Houston, who yodeled and sang two classics, ‘The Mailman Blues’ and ‘Anytime.’ This chap sings as though he’s headed for ‘Louisiana Hayride’ fame and that ain’t bad in these Ark-La-Tex.” Little did he know that, while still a teenager, Houston would become a regular on the Louisiana Hayride.

David Houston performing at the KWKH Louisiana Hayride c. 1957.
Houston rose to fame in 1963 when his first hit “Mountain of Love” was released and rose to the number two spot of the Billboard’s Hot Country Singles Chart. The song he is most famous for is “Almost Persuaded,” which was released in 1966 and quickly became the number one song on the Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart and an international hit.

“Almost Persuaded” remained in the number one spot of the Billboards for nine straight weeks. Over the next forty years, no other song reached the top of the charts and stayed at the top for as long as “Almost Persuaded” did until Taylor Swift’s 2012 hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which spent ten weeks in the number one spot.

Houston won two Grammys in 1967 for Best Country & Western Recording and Best Country & Western Performance, Male for “Almost Persuaded.” He was the first country artist to receive two Grammys in one year for the same song. From that time until 1973, Houston had a string of top-five singles, including six more number one hits, one of which was a duet with Tammy Wynette. He also performed duets with Barbara Mandrell on several of her early hits. His last Top 10 country hit came in 1974 with “Can You Feel It,” though he continued making records until 1989. Throughout his career, Houston released 27 albums and about 60 singles.

In 1971 Houston became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. His last appearance on the show was on Nov. 6, 1993. On Thanksgiving Day, he suffered a brain aneurysm and remained in a coma at the Bossier Medical Center where he died on Nov. 30, 1993. At the time of his death, Houston was under contract with the federal government to tour South Korea, entertaining U.S. troops.

Houston is buried in Bossier City in the Rose-Neath Cemetery, next to his wife Katherine
Jane Guillotte of Shreveport. A country singer and songwriter with the stage name of Kathie
Raye. His side of the headstone reads “Almost Persuaded,” and her side reads “Was Persuaded,”
with “The Greatest duet partners in life” on the rear of the headstone.

Visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City, to
learn more about David Houston or other famous people from Bossier Parish.

By: Amy Robertson

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