I lost a dear, longtime, and special friend of mine today when Freddie Hart passed away. He was in his early nineties, and I’m told he died of pneumonia.
I first got to know Freddie in the early sixties when I performed with him in California, both on various concert dates and on the legendary Town Hall Party. He was a wonderful songwriter and song stylist, but above all else he was a wonderful, kind, and gentle human being.
He had a black belt in karate…once even trained Los Angeles police offers…but he wouldn’t harm a fly. The strongest thing I ever heard him say to someone who tried to anger him was, “God bless you, good buddy. Now run along…I don’t want to have to hurt you.”
The last time I saw Freddie was about a year ago when we both came to Hilltop Studios to record with David Frizzell on a tribute record to Lefty Frizzell, David’s brother and Freddie’s longtime west coast co-hort. You can tell from this picture that Freddie was still in tremendous physical condition, and still had that warm, welcoming smile that was his trademark. Several years earlier, I had inducted Freddie into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and presented him with his Manny Award.
If I could hit that high note, I’d sing “Easy Lovin'” for Freddie on the Opry tonight, but I don’t dare try. That was his note, his song, and part of his legacy that will live forever.
“God bless you, good buddy. Rest in peace. Thank you for all the great music, and thank you for being my friend.”