Don Bowman, the original host of American Country Countdown and the first Country Music Association Comedian of the Year, passed away at the age of 75 on the morning of June 5th, 2013 in Forsyth, Missouri.
Born in Lubbock, Texas on August 26th, 1937, the multi-talented entertainer attended school in Lorenzo, Texas, graduated from New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico, and enrolled at Texas Tech in Austin, Texas.
As a disc jockey, Don was known for his efforts in top 40 and country radio. His first announcing positions were in his home state of Texas and included stints in his hometown of Lubbock (KDUB, KLLL). He also entertained listeners in Austin (KVET), Floydada (KFLD), and El Paso (KELP). His most recent announcing position was in Branson (KRZK). In between, there were stints in various markets including San Diego (KDEO), the Bay Area (KEWB), the Twin Cities (KDWB), Nashville (WKDA), and Burbank (KBBQ). He was the original host of American Country Countdown (ACC) from 1973 through 1978.
As a songwriter, Don was best known for co-writing Just To Satisfy You and Wildwood Weed, both of which received BMI awards. He first dabbled in songwriting as a D.J..
As a singer, Don began his recording career with Coward of the Alamo on La Gree in 1961. The 45 received some action and led to a recording contract with RCA which resulted in eight album releases between 1964 and 1970. His biggest single was Chit Akins, Make Me A Star which spent four months on the country charts in 1964 peaking at #7 (Cash Box) and #14 (Billboard). Other singles of note include Dear Harlan Howard, Giddyup Do-Nut, For Loving You with Skeeter Davis, Folsom Prison Blues #2, and Poor Old Ugly Gladys Jones with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Bobby Bare. His highest charting albums were Our Man in Trouble and Funny Way To Make An Album, which received a Grammy nomination in 1967 for Best Comedy Performance. He subsequently recorded for Mega, Lone Star, and Lard Bucket.
As a comedian, Don appeared on the big screen, the small screen, on stage, and on record. He played Jeepers in a pair of motion pictures -- The Las Vegas Hillbillys and Hillbillys in a Hanuted House. He portrayed Seemore Miles when he opened shows for Moe Bandy in Branson. He also was the comedian on the syndicated Bill Anderson Show. He received the inaugural award as Comedian of the Year from the Country Music Association (CMA) getting the nod over fellow parodists, Ben Colder and Homer & Jethro in 1967 after receiving the Favorite Country Comedy Recording Artist Award at the 1966 Billboard Country Awards from Roy Acuff. Willie Nelson's opening act from 1981 through 1986 was also named "Comedian of the Year" by Record World and Cash Box.
For two years, Don wrote a monthly column in Country Song Roundup. He also did the voice overs on commercials for Pace CB Radios, Verner Ginger Ale, Bank of America, Capricorn Records, Winnebago Recreation Vehicles and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Don also played an important role in Waylon Jennings getting recording contracts with A&M as well as RCA and came up with the moniker Whisperin' for Bill Anderson.