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Spade Cooley

Biography

A musician and professional whose frequently sordid private lifestyle tended to overshadow his profession as an entertainer, Spade Cooley was the self-proclaimed Ruler of Western Golf swing, an innovator who at his top led the biggest music group ever assembled in the history of nation music. The merchandise of the multi-generational category of fiddle players, Donnell Clyde Cooley was created in Oklahoma in 1910, with age four, his family members shifted to Oregon. Despite his impoverished history, Cooley was a classically educated fiddler, and by enough time he was eight yrs . old, he was executing professionally at rectangular dances along with his father John. In 1930, Cooley (who received his nickname because of his poker abilities) shifted to LA, playing with several western-oriented acts. With the middle-’30s, he was functioning as an professional, with little bit parts in a number of Westerns; for Republic Studios, he offered as Roy Rogers’ stand-in. He also toured with Rogers being a fiddle participant, and managed vocal duties using the Riders from the Crimson Sage. Cooley didn’t begin a documenting profession until 1941, when he inserted the studio room while an associate of Cal Shrum’s music group. A year afterwards, he got control of bandleader Jimmy Wakely’s group, the home music group at Santa Monica, CA’s Venice Pier Ballroom, and their Traditional western swing music started attracting a large number of enthusiasts each Saturday evening. The densely filled band, house to as much as three vocalists and fiddlers at the same time, featured vocalist Tex Williams and guitarists Joaquin Murphey and John O. Weis. In 1945, Spade Cooley & His Orchestra’s initial single, “Pity you,” lasted nine weeks atop Billboard’s nation charts. The very first within an unbroken string of six TOP singles (including “Detour” and “You Can’t Break My Center”), “Pity you” would stay Cooley’s theme tune for a long time to arrive. Also in 1945, he wedded his second wife, Orchestra back-up vocalist Ella Mae Evans. Eventually, the Orchestra’s achievement resulted in the dissolution of its most widely used lineup; by 1946, Williams, the vocalist on all the group’s strikes, was demanding additional money, and Cooley refused to pay for it. Because of this, Williams quit, acquiring a lot of the Orchestra with him to create the European Caravan. In 1947, Cooley started a profession in tv, hosting an application in LA entitled The Hoffman Hayride. The show’s recognition grew quickly, and within weeks around 75 percent of most televisions within the L.A. region tuned in to the display each Saturday night time. He also resumed his film profession, this time around with higher visibility; furthermore to significant functions in several Westerns, he also starred in two 1949 brief subjects, Ruler of Western Golf swing and Spade Cooley & His Orchestra. Through the entire early ’50s, Cooley continuing to record, however the group’s recognition waned as general public tastes changed; following a period, he even terminated the Orchestra to displace its users with an all-female music group. Much drinker, Cooley descended into alcoholism as his profession dropped, and he experienced some minor heart episodes. Furthermore, he was facing monetary ruin due to problems with a well planned drinking water theme park to become situated in the Mojave Desert. In 1961, his wife Ella Mae remaining him; after a disagreement on Apr 3, he stomped her to loss of life as the couple’s 14-year-old little girl Melody appeared on in horror. The causing trial, a mass media circus where Cooley experienced another coronary attack, culminated within a word of lifestyle imprisonment. Throughout his term, he was a model prisoner, and therefore was permitted to perform in a sheriff’s advantage in Oakland, CA, on November 23, 1969. After playing before a audience of over 3,000, Cooley came back to his dressing area, suffered just one more coronary attack, and died.

Quick Facts


Full Name Spade Cooley
Died November 23, 1969, Oakland, California, United States
Profession Singer
Nationality American
Spouse Ella Mae Evans
Children Melody Cooley, Donnell Jr. Cooley, John Cooley
Music Songs Shame On You, Three Way Boogie, Crazy Cause I Love You, You Can’t Break My Heart, Oklahoma Stomp, Miss Molly, All Aboard For Oklahoma, Ida Red, Shame Shame On You, Spadella, Topeka Polka, Corrine, Corrina, It's Dark Outside, Forgive Me One More Time, You Better Do It Now, Texas Playboy Rag, Swinging the Devil’s Dream, You Never Miss the Water, The Trouble With Me, Hide Your Face, You’ll Rue The Day, I've Taken All I'm Gonna Take From You, Diggin' with Spade, Detour, One Sweet Letter From You, California Polka, Hornpipe Swing, Pale Moon, I Guess I've Been Dreaming Again, Piggy Bank Polka, Leather Britches, Sioux City Sue
Albums Down Younder, Mean Fiddler, The Big Band of Spade Cooley, Fidoodlin', Hollywood Hoedown, You Better Do It Now, Spade Cooley Big Band, Vol. 2, Swingin' The Devil's Dream, A Western Swing Dance Date With Spade & Tex, Fiddle Boogie Best, Sagebrush Swing, Indian Summer, Pony Tail Polka, The Best of Spade Cooley, The Best Of Western Swing, King Of Western Swing, Vol. 2, Masterpieces Presents Spade Cooley: Hits & Rarities (27 Country Songs), Remember, King Of Western Swing, Vol. 5, King Of Western Swing, Vol. 4, Spade Cooley - Greatest Hits (Best Value Music), Big Box Value Series: The King of Western Swing - Spade Cooley & Friends, Spade Cooley Big Band, Vol. 1, King Of Western Swing, Vol. 1
Movies Sheriff of Tombstone, Everybody's Dancin', Border Outlaws, Silver Bandit, The Kid from Gower Gulch


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 During Spade's incarceration at the Prison in Vacaville, Spade used to offer hand-made guitars as a prize for the institution's Facility Employee's Benefit Association. The contest was to guess the amount of the first day's take in the sales from an annual Prison Art Show. One year, because he was tired of all the work to create a working guitar, Spade decided to paint his one-and-only painting "Trio with Harmonica". The painting was won by a Correctional Sargent, my father who has passed since. The painting is in the possession of his son.
2 Upon his death, his remains were interred at the Chapel of the Chimes Memorial Park in Hayward, Alameda County, California.
3 He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6802 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
4 Member of The Bar-6 Cowboys.
5 Got his nickname after winning a card game.
6 He was convicted of murdering his second wife Ella Mae over alleged infidelities. The murder happened on April 3, 1961 in front of his 14 year old daughter Melody.
7 He was a stand in for Roy Rogers and often performed in bit parts in those films.
8 His first hit song "Shame, Shame on You", became his theme song. He was dubbed the "King of Western Swing". He was so successful as a singer and musician, he owned two properties in southern California and a yacht.
9 Cooley killed his wife and got a life sentence. After serving several years he was let out on a furlough to appear at a police benefit show. He died backstage of a heart attack during the show.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Big Tip Off 1955 Spade
Casa Manana 1951 Bandleader
Border Outlaws 1950 Spade Cooley
Everybody's Dancin' 1950 Spade
The Silver Bandit 1950 Spade Cooley
The Kid from Gower Gulch 1950 Spade Cooley
Square Dance Jubilee 1949 Spade Cooley
Vacation Days 1947 Spade Cooley
Tumbleweed Tempo 1946 Short Spade Cooley
Texas Panhandle 1945 Band Leader Spade
The Trouble with Me 1945 Short Leader, Spade Cooley's Western Dance Gang
My Chickashay Gal 1945 Short Band Leader
Senorita from the West 1945 Bandleader
Outlaws of the Rockies 1945 Singer Spade
Rockin' in the Rockies 1945 Spade Cooley (as Spade Cooley King of Western Swing)
The Singing Sheriff 1944 Spade Cooley (uncredited)
Take Me Back to Tulsa 1944 Short Vocalist-Fiddler
Chatterbox 1943 Band Leader / Fiddle Player
Dawn on the Great Divide 1942 Fiddler (uncredited)
Lost Canyon 1942 Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Strictly in the Groove 1942 Fiddler (uncredited)
Heart of the Golden West 1942 Rustler (uncredited)
Thundering Hoofs 1942 Fiddler (uncredited)
Romance on the Range 1942 Townsman (uncredited)
Home in Wyomin' 1942 1st Fiddler (uncredited)
Cactus Capers 1942 Short Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Sunset on the Desert 1942 Musician (uncredited)
Riding the Wind 1942 1st Fiddler (uncredited)
South of Santa Fe 1942 Jim Clancy (uncredited)
North to the Klondike 1942 Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Man from Cheyenne 1942 Cowhand (uncredited)
Bad Man of Deadwood 1941 Musician (uncredited)
Nevada City 1941 Musician (uncredited)
Saddlemates 1941 Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Sheriff of Tombstone 1941 Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Redskins and Redheads 1941 Short Fiddle Player
In Old Cheyenne 1941 Cowhand / Musician (uncredited)
Robin Hood of the Pecos 1941 Soldier (uncredited)
Wyoming Wildcat 1941 Dance Musician (uncredited)
The Border Legion 1940 Musician (uncredited)
Melody Ranch 1940 Melody Ranch Band Musician (uncredited)
Young Bill Hickok 1940 Musician (uncredited)
Colorado 1940 Henchman (uncredited)
The Ranger and the Lady 1940 Bent's Banjoist (uncredited)
You're Not So Tough 1940 Fiddle Player (uncredited)
Bullet Code 1940 Fiddler (uncredited)
Destry Rides Again 1939 Fiddle Player (uncredited)
The Marshal of Mesa City 1939 Fiddler (uncredited)
The Arizona Kid 1939 Union Soldier (uncredited)
Frontier Pony Express 1939 Charley Weston (uncredited)
Southward Ho 1939 Fiddler (uncredited)
Land of Fighting Men 1938 Member, Walt Shrum and His Colorado Hillbillies (uncredited)

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
I Saw the Light 2015 performer: "A Pair of Broken Hearts"
The Marty Stuart Show 2013 TV Series writer - 1 episode
42 2013 performer: "Shame On You" / writer: "Shame On You" - as Donnell Clyde Cooley, Jr.
The Killer Inside Me 2010 performer: "Shame on You" / writer: "Shame on You" - as Donnell Clyde Cooley
Pollock 2000 performer: "The Honey Song"
Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Early Years (1955-1970) 2000 TV Movie documentary writer: "Crazy Cause I Love You"
The Straight Story 1999 writer: "Y'Ready"
Shindig! 1965 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Sing Boy Sing 1958 writer: "Crazy 'Cause I Love You"
Border Outlaws 1950 performer: "Quiero Mas"
Everybody's Dancin' 1950 writer: "Shame on You", "Wake Up, Susan", "Tennessee Wagoner", "You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Finger"
The Silver Bandit 1950 performer: "Shame, Shame on You", "My Cherokee", "Adios, My Love"
The Kid from Gower Gulch 1950 performer: "There Are Tears in My Heart, O My Darlin'"
Square Dance Jubilee 1949 performer: "Shame, Shame On You", "I Came Here To Be Went With", "It's Dark Outside", "You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Finger", "Tennessee Wagoner", "Ida Red"
Trail to San Antone 1947 writer: "Shame on You"
Vacation Days 1947 performer: "Devil's Dream"
Texas Panhandle 1945 performer: "Take Me Back to Tulsa", "Shame, Shame on You", "Trail That Brings Me Back to You"
Shame on You 1945 Short performer: "Shame on You" / writer: "Shame on You"
Senorita from the West 1945 performer: "Loo-Loo From Louisiana", "Devil's Dream", "Fox Trot For Dancing"
Riders of the Dawn 1945 writer: "Shame on You"
Outlaws of the Rockies 1945 writer: "Do Ya or Don'tcha?"
Spade Cooley: King of Western Swing 1945 Short performer: "Who Killed the Goose", "The Trouble with Me", "Turkey in the Straw", "Steel Guitar Rag" - uncredited / writer: "Who Killed the Goose", "The Trouble with Me", "Tennessee Wagoner", "Topeka Polka" - uncredited
Sheriff of Tombstone 1941 performer: "Two-Gun Pete"

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Spade Cooley Show 1958 TV Series producer - 1 episode
Everybody's Dancin' 1950 associate producer
The Silver Bandit 1950 producer

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Everybody's Dancin' 1950 original story

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Big Tip Off 1955 composer: song "You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger"

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Spade Cooley Show 1957-1958 TV Series Himself - Host
The Spike Jones Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Hoffman Hayride 1953 TV Series Himself - Host
Spade Cooley and His Orchestra 1949 Short Himself
Spade Cooley Band 1945 Short Himself
Shame on You 1945 Short Himself / Fiddler / Group Leader
Spade Cooley: King of Western Swing 1945 Short Himself
I Love to Yodel 1944 Short Himself
My Wubba Dolly 1944 Short Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Tabloid 2015 TV Series documentary Himself
KTLA at 40: A Celebration of Los Angeles Television 1986 TV Movie Himself
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch 1976 Durango Kid's Friend (uncredited)

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#Quote
1 Playing the fiddle was as much a part of my life as breathing. I was knee-high to a stump and playing the fiddle, and my daddy played the fiddle and so did my granddad before him. So I came by it naturally, and later on I got it in my head to just flat quit schooling, the idea to be making money because being born poor and staying poor and being satisfied with it wasn't how I saw living out the rest of my natural life.


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