Harlan Howard

Harlan Howard

American songwriter, primarily in the country style.
Date of Birth: 08.09.1927
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Harlan Howard
  2. Early Life and Influences
  3. Career Breakthrough
  4. Later Years and Legacy
  5. Discography

Biography of Harlan Howard

Harlan Howard was an American poet-songwriter, primarily known for his contributions to the country music genre. Over his 60-year musical career, he wrote a vast number of songs, many of which became hits. In 1997, Howard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Harlan Howard

Early Life and Influences

Harlan Howard was born on September 8, 1927, in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up on a farm and developed a love for music at a young age. As a child, he enjoyed listening to the "Grand Ole Opry radio show," which had a significant influence on his musical taste. Howard once recalled, "I was completely absorbed by country music. It captured my heart. I was moved by its reality. As a child, I loved listening to sad songs...songs that spoke about real life..."

Despite his passion for reading, Howard only received a ninth-grade education. At the age of 12, he started writing songs. After serving in the U.S. Army's paratrooper division, Howard moved to Los Angeles with the intention of selling his music. After some revisions, he managed to sell a few compositions.

Career Breakthrough

In 1958, Charlie Walker's rendition of Howard's track "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down" reached number 2 on the country charts. The following year, Ray Price recorded Howard's song "Heartaches By The Number," which became an instant hit. Around the same time, Guy Mitchell's version of the song topped the pop charts.

In 1960, already a known songwriter, Howard relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. He continued to create music and eventually signed a contract with Acuff-Rose Music. Howard's songs gained unimaginable popularity, and at one point, 15 of his compositions simultaneously occupied the top spots on the charts. He received ten BMI Awards for his achievements.

One of Howard's most famous compositions is "I Fall to Pieces," performed by Patsy Cline. He also wrote the song "Everglades" for the Kingston Trio and the hit "Busted" for Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.

Later Years and Legacy

In 1973, Harlan Howard was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1997, he was honored with induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Howard passed away on March 3, 2002, at the age of 74. He was laid to rest at the Nashville City Cemetery.


  • 1961: Harlan Howard Sings Harlan Howard
  • 1965: All Time Favorite Country Songwriter
  • 1967: Mr. Songwriter
  • 1967: Down to Earth
  • 1971: To the Silent Majority with Love
  • 1981: Singer and Songwriter