Johnny Bush, songwriter who penned Willie Nelson's 'Whiskey River,' dead at 85

Johnny Bush, the rustic singer-songwriter highest identified for writing Willie Nelson’s hit “Whiskey River,” has died. He was once 85.

Bush’s supervisor showed his loss of life to Rolling Stone and his date of loss of life was once indexed as Oct. 16 on his web page.

A reason behind loss of life was once unannounced via his supervisor however Houston Chronicle reported that the entertainer died of pneumonia.

Bush, who was once a just right good friend of Nelson’s was once common in his native land of Houston, the place the honky-tonk performer steadily carried out for crowds. His web page states that his subsequent display was once scheduled to happen within the Lone Big name State on Nov. eight however have been rescheduled to March 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Born Johnny Bush Shinn III on Feb. 17, 1935 in Houston, the performer was once identified to his audiences as Johnny Bush because of a tv announcer’s flub when he was once 17, his web page states.

Singer-songwriter Johnny Bush performs onstage during the 46th Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 04, 2019 in Austin, Texas. He died at the age of 85 on Oct. 16, 2020.

Singer-songwriter Johnny Bush plays onstage all the way through the 46th Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 04, 2019 in Austin, Texas. He died on the age of 85 on Oct. 16, 2020.
(Rick Kern/WireImage for Surprise Ink)

The entertainer were given his get started within the song trade because of Nelson, who helped him land a role as a drummer in Ray Worth’s band. His debut unmarried, “Sound of a Heartache,” was once launched in 1967 and gained reward from Nelson, who described him on the time as a “nice making a song ability.”

Bush penned “Whiskey River” in 1972, which become an international come across Nelson’s unencumber of it 365 days in a while “Shotgun Willie.”

The performer, who performed the guitar, mess around and the drums, was once additionally identified for his nationwide hits “Undo the Proper” and “You Gave Me a Mountain.” The latter reportedly earned him the nickname of “Nation Caruso.”


Bush’s making a song profession was once in short stunted via vocal problems which have been decided to be a results of a neurological dysfunction. This led him to obtain vocal and speech treatment, consistent with Rolling Stone, and due to Botox injections in 2002 his signature honky-tonk voice was once restored.

In 2001, the Nationwide Council of Communicative Problems and the American Speech-Language-Listening to Related commemorated Bush with their Annie Glenn Award. He was once inducted into the Nation Tune Corridor of Reputation in 2003 with Kris Kristofferson and Lefty Frizzell. Two years later, Broadcast Tune, Inc. additionally awarded him with the Million-Air Award for “Whiskey River” achieving 1 million spins. Maximum not too long ago, he was once the primary recipient of the Ameripolitan Founding father of the Yr Award in 2014.

Tanya Tucker as soon as known as Bush one among Texas’ “highest honky-tonk heroes” and had the chance to accomplish with Bush all the way through her teenage years. The 2 carried out “Giant Giant Love” in combination in honor of his 60th yr within the industry in Castle Price, she stated.


In 1968, Nelson mentioned his bond with Bush.

“It gave the impression that at some point I had by no means heard of Johnny Bush after which on tomorrow I had at all times identified him,” Nelson wrote in 1968. “We’re that just right of buddies.”

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