Although relatively unknown in the United States until 1949, Canadian-born Hank Snow—initially referred to as the "Yodelling Ranger"—was a first-generation disciple of Jimmie Rodgers. Although his hard country singling style fell out of favor in the late 1950s, he enjoyed a number one hit, "Hello Love" (RCA 0215) as late as 1974. An elder statesman of the genre for last thirty years of his career, Snow enjoyed hit records in the U.S. for five decades (from the 1940s to the 1980s), ranking twenty-first in success on the country charts through 1988 (source: Joel Whitburn’s Top Country Singles 1944-1988).
After singing in Nova Scotia clubs during his teens, he was given his own radio show on CHNS-Halifax, in 1934. His popularity in that region led to a contract with RCA in 1936. He relocated to the U.S. in the mid-1940s, working on the WWVA-Wheeling Jamboree, in Hollywood with his performing horse, Shawnee, and KRLD-Dallas. Snow’s first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, January 7, 1949—although poorly received—helped break his first nationwide country hit, "Marriage Vows" (RCA; 1949; #10).
His next hit, the self-composed "I’m Movin’ On" (RCA; 1950), became one of the most successful country recordings of all-time, remaining number one for twenty-one weeks (and on the charts for forty-four weeks), selling more than one million copies. Now an Opry regular, his rich baritone voice, crisp enunciation, and preoccupation with authentic Americana (e.g., trains, Old West bank robberies) made him one of the genre’s top stars into the early 1960s. His best-selling recordings included "The Golden Rocket" (RCA 0400; 1950), "Rhumba Boogie" (RCA 0431; 1952), "I Don’t Hurt Anymore" (RCA 5698; 1954; gold record, #1 twenty weeks), "Let Me Go, Lover" (RCA 5960; 1954), and "I’ve Been Everywhere" (RCA 8072; 1962).
A longtime ambassador for country music, the "Singing Ranger" continued touring intermittently after RCA terminated his recording contract in the early 1980s; Snow’s forty-five years with the company is believed to be an industry record. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979.
|Back to Country and Western Music||Back to Table of Contents|