How Blake Shelton’s Late Brother, Richie, Helped Shape His Musical Career
Blake Shelton was absolutely devastated when his older brother, Richie, was killed in a car accident when Shelton was just 14 years old. Fans might not realize exactly to what extent Shelton's sibling helped shape his future musical career.
Richie was just 24 when he died in an accident that took place near Shelton's hometown of Ada, Okla., in November of 1990. The accident also killed two other passengers in the car; his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son. Richie had already had a significant impact on Shelton's tastes in music.
"His bedroom was right across the hallway from mine when I was little," Shelton recounted in an interview with 60 Minutes in 2014. "And he was listening to Hank Williams Jr., or Waylon, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bob Seger....whatever was popular, really, Richie loved all music. And I would be sitting there going, 'Man, that guy's my hero. That's the coolest guy. He's my big brother.'"
Miranda Lambert's Biggest Hit Was Meant for Blake Shelton
Richie would have his most significant impact on Shelton's career in 2012, when Shelton and then-wife Miranda Lambert co-wrote "Over You," inspired by his death. "Over You" became a No. 1 hit for Lambert, and it won both the CMA and ACM Song of the Year honors. Part of the lyrics sprang right from Shelton's heartbreak, including, "Your favorite records make me feel better / 'Cause you sing along with every song / I know you didn't mean to give them to me."
"That's one of the things I got when my brother was killed," Shelton recalled in an interview with the Associated Press in 2011. "The family gave me all his albums and things like that. I just listened to them over and over again to feel like he was there."
The story behind the song and Richie's death was the subject of a recent episode of The Secret History of Country Music, a video series that uncovers some of country music's greatest untold stories. Every Monday, Taste of Country News host Ania Hammar reveals the hidden stories behind country music's biggest hits, moments and artists.
Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Loretta Lynn are among the artists already featured, with many more to come. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.
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