Who is Tony Rice?

Tony Rice was a famous American bluegrass guitarist and musician who died on December 25, 2020. He was 69 years old. People thought he was one of the most important acoustic guitar players in bluegrass, progressive bluegrass, newgrass, and acoustic jazz.

The International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame made him a member in 2013. He also won a Grammy Award and was honored 10 times by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Brief info About Tony Rice

Name Tony Rice
Occupation Guitarist
Date of Birth 8 June 1951
Age 72
Place of Birth Virginia
Home Town Virginia
United States
Date of Death
December 25, 2020, Reidsville, NC

Tony Rice Early Life

Tony Rice was born in Danville, Virginia, on June 8, 1951, to Herbert and Doris Rice. His father was a semi-professional guitarist, and his brothers Larry, Wyatt, and Ronnie also played a variety of instruments.

He learned to play the guitar from his father and by listening to bluegrass legends like Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers.

In 1970, he relocated to Los Angeles and joined the Bluegrass Alliance, a band that included Sam Bush and Dan Crary.

In 1971, he relocated to Kentucky and joined J.D. Crowe and the New South, a band that revolutionized bluegrass with its progressive and eclectic approach. In 1973, he released his first solo album, Guitar.

Tony Rice Career

Tony Rice was a guitarist and bluegrass musician who influenced many other artists and genres. Here are some of his career highlights:

  • In 1973, he formed Charles and Johnny, a musical duo with pianist Johnny Hess, and became known for his musical impressions and exaggerated impersonations of Maurice Chevalier.
  • He rose to prominence thanks to his catchy melodies, witty lyrics, and distinct voice. In 1939, he had his first big hit with “Boum!” an infectiously bubbly tune that captivated the French listening public.
  • He wrote “La Mer” in 1943, and it became his most well-known work outside of the French-speaking world, with over 400 recorded versions. The song, renamed “Beyond the Sea” and given unrelated English words, became a hit for Bobby Darin in the early 1960s and George Benson in the mid-1980s.
  • Other classics he wrote include “Que reste-t-il de nos amours?” (which lyricist Albert Beach adapted as “I Wish You Love”) and “Formidable,” which was inspired by his impressions of a trip to the United States.
  • Many other French singers, including Maurice Chevalier, Jean Sablon, Fréhel, and Georges Brassens, were influenced by him. He also worked with other artists, including Michel Emer and Léo Chauliac.
  • Despite his intention to retire in the 1970s, he continued to perform until the late 1990s. He passed away in 2001, at the age of 87.

Tony Rice Net Worth

Tony Rice’s net worth was $1 million when he died in 2020. Over the course of his more than 60-year career, he wrote both the music and the lyrics to nearly 1,000 songs.

He was known for his whimsical and surreal imagery, swing rhythms, and popular hits like “Church Street Blues”, “Cold on the Shoulder”, “Shadows”, and “Freeborn Man”.

He received royalties from record sales and performances of his songs by other artists. He also made money by appearing at festivals, concerts, workshops, and clinics.

He appeared at numerous festivals around the world, including MerleFest in North Carolina, Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in New York, and Strawberry Music Festival in California.

Tony Rice Awards and Achievements

  • He received a Grammy Award in 1983 for his album Skip Hop & Wobble, which he co-wrote with Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer.
  • In 2013, he and his brother Larry Rice were honored with induction into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame as members of the Rice Brothers.
  • In 2015, he won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, which came with a cash prize of $50,000 and a bronze statue.
  • The Americana Music Association presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, alongside legends such as Bob Weir, Shawn Colvin, and William Bell.
  • He was in a number of documentaries and books about bluegrass music, such as High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music (1994), Bluegrass Journey (2004), Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story (2010), and Tony Rice: The Video Collection (2012).

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