Charlie Daniels was born October 28, 1936, in Wilmington, North Carolina and as a teenager,moved to the small town of Gulf, Chatham County, North Carolina.
He graduated from high school in 1955 and already skilled on guitar,fiddle,banjo and mandolin immediately formed a rock ‘n’ roll band and hit the road.
In 1964, Daniels co-wrote It Hurts Me with his friend, producer Bob Johnston, under Bob’s wife’s name, Joy Byers. The song was recorded by Elvis Presley.
He worked as a Nashville session musician, often for Johnston, including playing guitar and electric bass on three Bob Dylan albums during 1969 and 1970.He also played on recordings by Leonard Cohen.
Daniels recorded his first solo album, Charlie Daniels, in 1971. However,his first hit Uneasy Rider ,which reached No 9 on the Billboard Hot 100,was from his 1973 third album, Honey in the Rock.
In 1974,Daniels organized the first in a series of Volunteer Jam concerts based in or around Nashville,Tennessee,often playing with members of Barefoot Jerry until 1996.They did however take a break in the 1980s.
In 1999, the first of several Volunteer Jam Tours began, and in 2015, a Jam celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first Volunteer Jam was held at Bridgestone Arena. Another followed in 2016 celebrating his 80th birthday.
In 1979,Daniels won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance for The Devil Went Down Georgia which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.The song became a bigger success after its inclusion on the soundtrack for the hit movie Urban Cowboy in which he made an on screen appearance. A hard rock/heavy metal cover version of the song was also included in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as the final guitar battle against the last boss (Lou, the devil).
In 1993, Daniels played the fiddle alongside fiddler Mark O’Connor to record a sequel to Daniels’ 1979 single The Devil Went Down To Georgia , “The Devil Came Back To Georgia” while Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt sung the lyrics. The song was on O’Connor’s album, Heroes.
Daniels was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2000, he composed and performed the score for the feature film Across the Line starring Brad Johnson and also guest starred as himself on two episodes of King of the Hill, “Peggy’s Fan Fair,” which aired on May 21, 2000 and The Bluegrass is Always Greener, which aired on February 24, 2002.
In 2005, Daniels made a cameo appearance alongside Larry the Cable Guy, Kid Rock, and Hank Williams, Jr. in Gretchen Wilson’s music video for the song All Jacked Up as well as making a musical guest appearance in the Veggietales episode “Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson’s Hairbrush”, by writing, producing, and performing the Minnesota Cuke theme song.
On October 18, 2005, Daniels was honored as a BMI Icon at the 53rd annual BMI Country Awards. Throughout his career,he has garnered 6 BMI Country Awards,his first award being in 1976 for The South’s Gonna Do It Again.
In October 2016, Daniels officially became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame along with fellow tar heels Randy Travis and producer Fred Foster.
On November 6, 2018, Daniels released a book of daily inspirational quotes and stories,Let’s All Make The Day Count: The Everyday Wisdom of Charlie Daniels through HarperCollins’ Thomas Nelson imprint.
Daniels was a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and has performed on their videos. He married his wife, Hazel, on September 20, 1964 and together, they have one son, Charlie Daniels, Jr.
Daniels died on July 6, 2020, of a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 83 at Summit Medical Center in Nashville.