Singer and songwriter Howard Crockett was born Howard Elton Hausey in Yellow Pine, Webster Parish, Louisiana, on December 25, 1925. He pitched in the Brooklyn Dodgers' farm system but turned to singing and songwriting after a shoulder injury ended his baseball career.
Among the best known of the more than 200 songs he wrote are "Whispering Pines," "Slew Foot," and "Honky Tonk Man." These three, plus several others, were released and made famous by Johnny Horton. According to fellow songwriter Joe Davis, Crockett wrote what might be his most famous song, "Honky Tonk Man," at a club called Yankee's in Mississippi and almost never released it, because he figured someone else had already written something similar. Four of his numerous songs went gold, two platinum, and one double-platinum. As a young man Crockett also performed on the Louisiana Hayride and Big D Jamboree.
Beginning in 1957 he made several recordings with Dot Records, at which time he changed his name to Crockett. He recorded with Mercury Records as well. His "The Last Will and Testament of a Drinking Man" was a hit in 1973. He retired from singing in 1981, though he continued to write songs up until a few months before his death. Dwight Yoakam had a hit with "Honky Tonk Man" in 1986.
Crockett's wife, Patricia Carol Hausey, died on November 28, 1989. Crockett died of lung cancer in Fort Worth on December 27, 1994, and was survived by three sons and three daughters, as well as four grandchildren. His memorial service was held at Shannon Funeral Chapel, Fort Worth. In 1999 he was inducted into the LSSCMA of Texas Country Music Hall of Fame along with other Texas greats Lefty Frizzell, Lenora Sinistre, Gordon Jones, and Jess Beaumont. A collection of his complete recordings, titled Howard Crockett: Out of Bounds--The Johnny Horton Connection, was released by Bear Family Records in 2007.
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Dallas Morning News, December 31, 1994. Dick de Heer, "Howard Crockett," Black Cat Rockabilly Europe, (http://www.rockabilly.nl/references/messages/howard_crockett.htm), accessed September 16, 2011. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 30, 1994. Houston Chronicle, December 31, 1994. LSSCMA of Texas Halls of Fame website (http://ssrecords.techplanet.net/lsscma_halls_of_fame.htm), accessed March 4, 2003. Rockin' Country Style: Crockett, Howard (http://rcs.law.emory.edu/rcs/artists/c/croc1000.htm), accessed March 4, 2003.
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 20, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 22, 2006
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 14, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: