Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cliffie Stone

His father was country musician Herman-the-Hermit a frequent performer on KELW. Cliffie Stone was born Clifford Gilpin Snyder in 1917. He was a radio and TV personality, a recorded musician, and vaudeville comedian among other things. Today he's best known as a country musician who did a series of Square dance recordings for Columbia records.

But it was at Capitol where he rose to success as an A&R man. Stone started work at Capitol Records in 1946 in A&R. He went on to sign Tennessee Ernie Ford, Molly Bee, and Hank Thompson. He knew country music and he knew radio. He got his start playing bass in big bands around California in the early 1930s with Anson Weeks and Freddie Slack. They gigged around Hollywood and Pasadena.

Eventually he scored radio shows as KFUD and KFWB doing hayride shows like Covered Wagon Jubilee, Hollywood barn dance, Hometown Jamboree and Lucky Stars, broadcast out of Los Angeles It started in 1935 when he first got on Covered Wagon Jubilee on KFVD . He was only 18 years old playing bass with the stage name Cliffie Stonehead. ( He later shortened it to Stone. In 1944 Stone started a third show, Dinner Bell Round-Up, on KPAS. At the same time he started his own record production company, Lariat Records. It was that work with his own indie label that got the attention of Capitol. his deal with Capitol was interesting. He signed artists yes, but he also wrote songs and performed as a studio musician. Some of those relationships developed and he also manged some of those same artists such as Kay Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford. in the 1960s he even developed his own publishing company.

1110 KPAS-AM became KXLA in 1945 with Stone still hosting Dinner Bell Round-Up. In 1948he moved over to host Hometown Jamboree also on KXLA on Saturday nights. A year later he crossed over to TV on KCOP-TV in Pasadena. In 1953 it moved to KTLA-TV, where it ran until its cancellation in 1959. He even booked his dad Herman the Hermit on the programs. The biggest country artists of the era played his radio and television programs: Don Sullivan, Johnny Horton, Ferlin Husky and Molly Bee. Today, 1110 AM in Los Angeles is KDIS a Radio disney outlet. Boring.

He wrote two books but neither was published until after his death. He died of a sudden heart attack on January 17, 1998, at his home in Saugus, CA. the following year Cliffie was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.