John Hartford

Grammy Award-winning performer and songwriter John Hartford was a fixture on the American music scene for 40 years, from his 1960s spots on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour to his appearance on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. He played a variety of stringed instruments and, when not performing, was an author and riverboat captain.

Hartford, who has more than 20 albums to his credit, appeared regularly on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour before joining the Glen Campbell show. He also wrote what became one of Campbell’s signature hit songs, the classic “Gentle on my Mind.” Among Hartford’s own most notable recordings were his 1980 rock ’n’ roll-meets-bluegrass reunion with the Dillards, Permanent Wave, and Shel Silverstein’s The Great Conch Train Robbery.

In the late 1980s, Hartford began performing with his son Jamie and got involved with the Opryland theme park in Nashville, where he helped launch an old-fashioned steamboat ride. On June 4, 2001, he died in a Nashville hospital after a long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 63.

This artist appears in Jubilee #117: John Hartford.