Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Billy Grammer dies

August 11, 2011 6:37:11 AM PDT
Billy Grammer, whose 1958 hit "Gotta Travel On"' hit the top of the charts and led to a long career on the Grand Ole Opry, has died. He was 85.

A statement from Grand Ole Opry spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt says Grammer died Wednesday morning in his home state of Illinois of natural causes.

Grammer, a singer and guitarist who also was a Nashville recording session musician, suffered a heart attack in late March 2011 while visiting Plano, Texas.

He performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry beginning in 1959.

"Gotta Travel On," adapted from a British folk tune, was a million-seller and the first hit for Nashville's Monument Records and its famed founder, Fred Foster. It was a hit on the pop, country and rhythm & blues charts.