Leon Payne

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll follow a songwriter down country music’s “lost highway.”

On May 17, 1922, Leon Payne entered the Texas School for the Blind in Austin. Born without sight in Alba, Texas, in 1912, Payne performed with Bob Wills and others before establishing himself as a talented songwriter. He penned a number of tunes for such prominent artists as George Jones, Elvis Presley, and Jim Reeves. However, Leon Payne may be best remembered for writing one of Hank Williams, Sr.’s biggest hits, “Lost Highway.”

Leon Payne died in 1969. In 1971, country music legend and fellow Texan, George Jones, recorded an entire tribute album of Payne’s songs. In 1997, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about the first-and-only four-way-hit songwriter.

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