Outlaw Movement’s Tompall Glaser Dies at 79

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Tompall Glaser

Thomas Paul “Tompall” Glaser, a central figure in the Outlaw Movement of the ‘70’s, died yesterday (Aug. 13) at his Nashville home following a lengthy illness. He was 79. Glaser was featured on Wanted! The Outlaws, country’s first million-selling album, along with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Born in Nebraska, Glaser and his brothers sang on local radio and appeared in 1957 on Arthur Godfrey’s network TV show. Two years later Marty Robbins brought them to Nashville to sing harmony for him and signed them to his Robbins Records label. They also toured with Johnny Cash and lent harmonies to legendary recordings like “Ring Of Fire” and Robbins’ “El Paso.” As Tompall & The Glaser Brothers, they recorded several singles produced by Cowboy Jack Clement and penned a major hit for Bobby Bare with the 1966 song “Streets Of Baltimore,” (which would later be covered by Charley Pride, the Statler Brothers, and many more.)

In 1970 the Glasers would be named the CMA’s Top Vocal Group and with monies earned from their publishing company opened their own studio on 19th Avenue where works like Waylon Jennings’ Dreaming My Dreams were recorded. After they disbanded in 1973, Glaser embarked on a solo career. That same year he and Jennings co-produced Jennings’ landmark Honky Tonk Heroes album. The two became compadres who shared a disdain of the establishment and a vision of musicians operating independently outside of the traditional Music Row system.

They later had a falling out over a publishing dispute, and Glaser went back to his brothers and began performing as a group again in 1980 for a brief period. Signing to Elektra Records, they recorded a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” which landed at No. 2 on the charts. By 1982 they dissolved the group once again, and Glaser recorded one final solo project in 1986 before selling the studio and disappearing from the public eye.

A private memorial is being planned.

All photos by Alan Mayor.


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Category: Artist, Obituary

About the Author

Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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