Wayne Raney

Past DJ Hall of Fame Inductees
1993

 

Wayne Raney. (born:Wolf Bayou, Arkansas Aug 17, 1921) is known above all for his 1949 number one single "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me", worked as a Country disc jockey in the fifties. Raney was also well known for his harmonica playing. He did much to establish the harmonica as an instrument accessible and popular everywhere. Raney suffered from a foot deformity that prevented him from doing heavy farm work. He heard a street person play a harmonica and was inspired to learn the instrument himself. By the time he was 13, he had headed for Piedras Negras, Mexico, across the river from Eagle Pass, TX, to perform on the powerful "border radio" station XEPN. In 1936 he met Lonnie Glosson, and the two teamed up in 1938 to play on a radio station in Little Rock. They moved on to Cincinnati's WCKY and later to wide syndication; perhaps the heavy mail-order emphasis of the border radio enterprises, which sold everything from piano lessons to monkey-gland-implant impotence treatments, inspired Raney to market harmonicas via mail order to listeners who enjoyed what he played on the air. After World War II Raney played briefly on the radio in Memphis and then teamed up with the Delmore Brothers whose wry boogie numbers, punctuated with jovial blasts from Raney's harmonica, became national hits. In 1948, he went solo and hit the charts with two Top 15 singles, "Lost John Boogie" and "Jack and Jill Boogie." In 1949 he topped country charts with "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me," which also featured Glosson. The song crossed over to the pop Top 25 and was his biggest hit. He played on the Grand Ole Opry for one year, spent a few months touring with Lefty Frizzell in 1953, and performed on the California Hayride and WWVA Jamboree radio programs. In the late '50s he worked as a DJ, opened a recording studio, and started the bluegrass-oriented Rimrock label, on which he released several albums of his own. He also ran a chicken farm for a time, and he appeared occasionally on Hee Haw in the '70s. Eventually his health began to fail; he lost his voicebox in the late '80s and in 1990 published a brief autobiography, Life Has Not Been a Bed of Roses. He died of cancer January 23 1993. Wayne Raney was inducted into the Country Music D J Hall of Fame in 1993.