Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Cliffie Stone
Entertainer | Sand Canyon Resident

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Undated Capitol Records press kit for Cliffie Stone and His Barn Dance Band, probably late 1940s.

In addition to being a musician in his own right, Cliffie was an important talent scout and promoter who joined Capitol Records in 1946. He was responsible for discovering numerous young artists including Tennessee Ernie Ford, Molly Bee and Hank Thompson, and for advancing the career of Merle Travis.

This press blurb promotes a half-dozen singles — 63 cents each, including federal sales tax? — from Cliffie Stone and His Barn Dance Band, which was the name of his band in the 1940s. No mention is made of Cliffie’s famous, syndicated Hometown Jamboree radio (and later TV) show, which launched in 1949, or of his most successful tune under his own name, "The Popcorn Song," which hit No. 14 on the Billboard chart in 1955. Thus this write-up probably dates from 1946-1949.

With errors and omissions footnoted below, the unflattering blurb reads as follows:

He is an enormous, pudgy singing bandleader specializing in western music and the novelty songs featured primarily by western artists.

Background: Born March 1, 1917, in Burbank, Calif.[1], he attended Burbank High School; learned hill country and western music from his father[2] first, but continued studies in school. First choice in musical instruments was trombone, which he played in High School band, but later emphasis was placed on the bass. For two seasons performed with Pasadena Community Playhouses, specializing in comedy roles.

Career: Starting in 1935 to place emphasis on radio, he has had a host of his own radio shows such as Covered Wagon Jubilee on KFVD, Lucky Stars on KFWB for seven years, Hollywood Barn Dance on CBS. At some times he has emceed as many as 28 radio shows a week, all sponsored. He appeared for 13 months in Ken Murray’s Hollywood Blackouts with Gene Austin. As a song writer Cliffie has collaborated with Merle Travis, Eddie Kirk, Leon McAfee and others on such tunes as "No Vacancy," "Divorce Me C.O.D.," "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed," etc. He has also served several months as a two-hour-a-morning disk jockey, spinning nothing but western records. Makes frequent personal appearance dates throughout Southern California.

Personal: Met wife, Dorothy, when she was singing with Three Aristocrats on KNX, and couple married July 31, 1939, in Hollywood.[3] they have two children, Linda and Stevie[4], and live in Burbank.[5] Cliff is collector of western and folk music. Hobbies are pipe collecting and developing of recipes. Is an excellent cook and likes to prepare Italian dishes. Likes sailing small boats.

Statistics: Born Clifford Stone March 1, 1917, in Burbank, Calif. Education — Burbank High School. Married to Dorothy Darling, former professional singer. Two children, Linda and Stevie. Height, 6’. Weight, 315 lbs. Hair, light brown. Eyes, blue.

[1] Cliffie was born in Stockton, Calif.

[2] His father was the country musician Hermin the Hermit.

[3] Cliffie married his second wife, songwriter Joan Carol, in 1989.

[4] Another son, who evidently antedated this writeup, was musician Curtis Stone, who played in the band Highway 101.

[5] Not long after, Cliffie moved to Sand Canyon (then considered part of Saugus) and became active in civic affairs in the Santa Clarita Valley.


Country-Western recording artist, producer, talent scout and promoter Cliffie Stone lived in the Sand Canyon area of Canyon Country and was inducted in 1990 into the downtown Newhall Walk of Western Stars, which he helped organize. He died Jan. 17, 1998, at home.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH from Viacom Inc.:

Clifford Gilpin Snyder, born in Stockton, Calif., on March 1, 1917, and raised in Burbank, was for many years almost a one-man country music industry on the West Coast. Son of the banjo player and comedian known as Herman The Hermit, Stone began his career in the late 1930s as bass player for big bands such as Anson Weeks and Freddie Slack, before playing bass for Stuart Hamblen.

By the early 1940s he was bandleader and featured comedian on "The Hollywood Barn Dance" on the CBS radio network. In 1946 Stone joined Capitol Records as an A&R man, but also did at least four major daily radio shows ("Dinner Bell Round Up," "Rhythm Ranch," "Cliffie Stone's Western Party" and "Western Stars") on local stations as a disc jockey or performer.

His "Hometown Jamboree," originally a radio show, became a pioneering TV show in Los Angeles and was nationally syndicated. Stone guided the career of Tennessee Ernie Ford, and wrote or co-wrote many hit songs, including "Anticipation Blues," "Smokey Mountain Boogie" and "The Shot Gun Boogie" for Ford, and "Divorce Me C.O.D.," "No Vacancy" and "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed" for Merle Travis.

As an artist, Stone had several chart hits, including two Top-5 hits in the late 1940s: "Silver Stars, Purple Sage, Eyes Of Blue" and "Peepin' Thru The Keyhole (Watching Jole Blon)" on Capitol and later started his own Granite label. Stone received the Academy Of Country Music's Pioneer Award in early 1973. In 1989 Stone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.


LW2262c: 9600 dpi jpeg from lithograph purchased by Leon Worden for SCV Historical Society
CLIFFIE STONE

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Walk Index


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S. Hamblen 1930s

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Capitol 1940s

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Capitol 1940s

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Capitol 1940s

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"Red White and Blue [Over You]" 1947

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"Watch It, Neighbor" 1947

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Good Luck Token 1960s

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Newhall 1982

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Official Bio 1990

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Bio Feature 1990

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Walk of Stars 1990

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