’90s country hitmaker Hal Ketchum dead at 67

Chris Armstrong ’90s country great Hal Ketchum has died at the age of 67.

Hal’s wife Andrea Ketchum confirmed his passing on his official Facebook page today.

“With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of dementia. May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace,” she writes.

Born in New York in 1953, Ketchum later migrated south to Texas, where he cut his teeth performing at clubs around the state as a singer/songwriter.

After moving to Nashville and signing a record deal with Curb, he had a thriving career throughout the 1990s. His 1991 debut album Past the Point of Rescue spawned four singles, a pair of which reached number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart: “Small Town Saturday Night” and the title track. The album was certified gold by the RIAA.

The title track of his 1992 album Sure Love peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, while “Hearts Are Gonna Roll” reached number two and “Mama Knows the Highway” hit number eight.

Throughout the decade, Ketchum reached the top 20 with hits including “I Know Where Love Lives” and a cover of the Vogues‘ “Five O’Clock World.” He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1994.

At the 1997 CMA Awards, Ketchum was nominated for Musical Event of the Year for his contribution to a remake of Charlie Daniels’ “Long Haired Country Boy,” recorded with Daniels and John Berry.

In 1998, Hal was diagnosed with rare neurological disease acute transverse myelitis, which caused the left side of his body to become paralyzed. Andrea shared in April 2019 that he was retiring amid a battle with dementia.

By Cillea Houghton
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