Hank Snow, 85, whose gaudy rhinestone suits and million-selling hit song "I'm Movin' On" made him a country music legend for more than 40 years, died Dec. 20 at his home in Madison, Tenn. He recently had been treated for pneumonia.
Mr. Snow, known as "the singing ranger" because of his flamboyant cowboy attire, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979.
"I'm Movin' On"--the song he wrote about boarding a train to leave a wayward lover--was on the country music charts for almost a year in 1950, including 21 weeks at No. 1. It eventually was recorded in 36 languages and in versions by Elvis Presley and Ray Charles.
Other hits, many of which he wrote, included "I Don't Hurt Anymore," "Golden Rocket," "Music Makin' Mama From Memphis," "Rhumba Boogie" and the humorous "I've Been Everywhere," with lyrics that string together a multitude of place names.
Mr. Snow's heyday was from 1950 to 1965, but he performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry until the mid-1990s.
He made more than 80 albums and 2,000 songs, 30 of which were top 10 sellers. In 1980, he enjoyed renewed popularity teaming with Willie Nelson on a duet album. He set a record for longevity with a label by recording for RCA for 45 years.
He was only in his twenties when he became a leading country performer in his native Canada. He was signed to a record contract in 1934, and his 45-year relationship with RCA, from then until 1979, was said to be a record.
He moved to the United States in the mid-1940s and began singing on the Grand Ole Opry regularly in 1950. He became a U.S. citizen in 1958.
In the mid-1950s, Mr. Snow was a mentor to Elvis Presley just as Presley was breaking into the music business. They also toured together.
Mr. Snow sang for American troops in Korea, Vietnam, Germany, France, Norway, Italy, England and Japan. He said in a 1991 interview that his appearances for troops were the highlight of his career. "This was a great experience, one that money couldn't buy. It was the most important part of my life as far as entertaining is concerned," he said.
He continued singing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry into his eighties. In August 1996, when he returned to the Opry stage after a seven-month absence because of ill health, he got a standing ovation.
Mr. Snow was born near Liverpool, Nova Scotia, on May 9, 1914. His physically abusive stepfather threw him out of the home when he was 12. Equipped with a fifth-grade education, Mr. Snow became a cabin boy on a freighter for four years. As a teenager, he used $30 in earnings from a two-week stint unloading salt from a ship to buy his first guitar. His style was heavily influenced by the U.S. country singer Jimmie Rodgers.
In the mid-1970s, Mr. Snow became interested in fighting child abuse and disclosed that he had been abused by his stepfather. He organized benefit concerts and formed a foundation for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Survivors include his wife, Minnie, and a son, Jimmy.
CAPTION: Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On" was on the charts for almost a year.