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Hargus Robbins, Pianist on Country Music Hits, Dies at 84

Hargus Robbins, who was known as "Pig," in 1975. He was respected by his kindred studio artists. 

"Whenever Pig's on a meeting every other person plays better,"

 one of them said.Credit...Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

A respected individual from Nashville's A-Team of studio artists, he was a significant supporter of Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" collection.

NASHVILLE - Hargus "Pig" Robbins, one of down home music's most productive meeting piano players and a critical supporter of Bob Dylan's milestone 1966 collection, "Blonde on Blonde," kicked the bucket on Sunday. He was 84.

His passing was reported on the site of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It didn't say where he kicked the bucket or indicate the reason.

A long-lasting individual from Nashville's supposed A-Team of first-call studio artists, Mr. Robbins showed up on a large number of well known accounts made here between the last part of the 1950s and mid-2010s.

Many turned into No. 1 nation singles, including Hank Snow's "I've Been Everywhere" (1962), Loretta Lynn's "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" (1966) and Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" (1974). A few likewise moved over to become significant pop hits, Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" (1961) and Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" (1978) among them.

An instinctual melodicist who esteemed misrepresentation of reality over streak, Mr. Robbins laid out the piano as an indispensable piece of the smooth, cleaned up Nashville Sound of the 1960s. He additionally was a main explanation that people and rock behaves like Joan Baez and Mr. Dylan started making a trip to Nashville to take on the off the cuff way to deal with recording advocated here.

The previous Kingston Trio part John Stewart alluded to him as "first-take Hargus Robbins" when, on the end track of Mr. Stewart's acclaimed 1969 collection, "California Bloodlines," he recorded the Nashville meeting artists who showed up on it. Mr Stewart was recognizing Mr. Robbins' skill for playing melodic sections immaculately the initial time through.

Mr Robbins' impact was perhaps generally articulated as the Nashville Sound advanced into the more soul-soaks "countrypolitan" style heard on records like George Jones' 1980 blockbuster single, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

Mr Robbins' undulating, jazz-bent introductions to Charlie Rich's "In secret" (1973) and Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" (1977) became suffering articulations of the Southern melodic vernacular of their period. The two records were No. 1 nation and hybrid pop singles.

"Of the multitude of performers on my meetings, he stood the tallest," the maker and A-Team guitarist Jerry Kennedy said of Mr. Robbins in a show at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"He has been a spine for Nashville," added Mr. Kennedy, who worked with Mr. Robbins on hits by Roger Miller and Jerry Lee Lewis, and on "Blonde on Blonde."

Mr Robbins procured his particular moniker, Pig, while going to the Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville as a kid.

"I had an administrator who called me that since I used to sneak in through an emergency exit and play when I shouldn't have and I'd get grimy as a pig," Mr. Robbins said in a meeting refered to in the Encyclopedia of Country Music.

He lost vision in one of his eyes when he was 3, after inadvertently jabbing himself in the eye with a blade. The harmed eye was at last taken out and Mr. Robbins in the long run lost sight in his other eye too.

While at the School for the Blind he concentrated on old style music, yet he would likewise play jazz, honky-tonk and barrel-house blues.

Mr Robbins' wide-going preferences served him well, preparing him for work on soul accounts like Clyde McPhatter's 1962 pop hit, "Sweetheart Please" (where he was enigmatically credited as Mel "Pigue" Robbins), and Arthur Alexander's "Anna (Go to Him)," a Top 10 R&B single from 1962 covered by the Beatles.

Managed the cost of the opportunity to loosen up elaborately on "Blonde on Blonde," Mr. Robbins played with boisterous forsake on "Blustery Day Women #12 and 35," the woozy, carnivalesque No. 2 pop hit snared by the slogan "Everyone should get stoned." He utilized a delicate lyricism, on the other hand, on elegiac anthems like "Very much Like a Woman" and "Tragic Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."

Hargus Melvin Robbins was brought into the world on Jan. 18, 1938, in Spring City, Tenn.

His first enermous break came in 1959 when the music distributor Buddy Killen tied down him an encouragement to play on Mr. Jones' "White Lightning." Spurred by Mr. Robbins' romping boogie-woogie piano, the record turned into a No. 1 nation single.

Another open door came two years after the fact, when the maker Owen Bradley, requiring somebody to fill in for the A-Team musician Floyd Cramer, recruited Mr. Robbins to play on the meeting for Ms. Cline's "I Fall to Pieces." Mr. Cramer before long left on a performance profession, making an opening for Mr. Robbins in the A-Team.

Mr Robbins played with a performance vocation during the '50s, recording rockabilly firsts under the name Mel Robbins. "Save It," a dark single from 1959, was covered by the carport troublemakers the Cramps on their 1983 collection, "Off the Bone."

One of Mr. Robbins' instrumental collections, "Country Instrumentalist of the Year," won a Grammy Award for best country instrumental execution in 1978.

Filling in as a meeting performer was by and by his stock in exchange, as a scene from Robert Altman's 1971 film "Nashville" significantly bears witness to. Berating his recording engineer when a radical piano player nicknamed Frog appears for work on their meeting rather than Mr. Robbins, the self-centered country vocalist played by Henry Gibson yells, "When I request Pig, I need Pig!"

Mr Robbins performing at the Country Music Hall of Fame acceptance service in 2012.Credit...Wade Payne/Invision, by means of Associated Press

Mr Robbins was named country instrumentalist of the year by the Country Music Association in 1976 and 2000. Indeed, even after he was drafted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012, he proceeded - then, at that point, in his 70s - to accomplish studio work with contemporary hitmakers like Miranda Lambert and Sturgill Simpson.

Data on survivors was not quickly accessible.

Losing his visual perception could possibly have helped Mr. Robbins develop a quicker melodic reasonableness. His playing, regardless, uncovered a promise to tuning in and creative mind that made them react to his associates with a solitary profundity of feeling.

"Pig Robbins is the best meeting man I've at any point known," said Charlie McCoy, an individual A-Teamer, at a gathering held in Mr. Robbins' distinction at the Country Music Hall of Fame. "Whenever Pig's on a meeting every other person plays better."

"Assuming you will be a decent player," Mr. Robbins said at the occasion, "you need to think of something that will supplement the tune and the vocalist."

Rectification: Jan. 31, 2022

A previous adaptation of this tribute misquoted the year Robert Altman's film "Nashville" was delivered. It was 1975, not 1971.

 

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