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Leon Payne


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Leon Payne (Alba, TX, June 15, 1917 – September 11, 1969), “the Blind Balladeer”, was an American country music singer and songwriter.

He wrote hundreds of country songs in a prolific career that lasted from 1941 until his death in 1969. He is perhaps best known for his hits “I Love You Because”, “You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart” and the 1948 song “Lost Highway”, a song made famous by Hank Williams in 1949.
Leon Payne recorded under the alias Rock Rogers in the rockabilly style.
He also wrote under the pen-name of “Pat Patterson” on tracks such as “It’s Nothing to Me” performed by Sanford Clark.

He was blind in one eye at birth, and lost the sight of the other eye in early childhood. He attended the Texas School for the Blind from 1924 to 1935, where he met his future wife, Myrtie Velma Courmier. They had two children together, as well as two children from Myrtie’s previous marriage. Leon Payne died in 1969 in San Antonio, Texas. His wife Myrtie died in San Antonio in 2008, and Leon’s composition “I Love You Because” was played at her funeral service.
He began his music career in the mid-1930s, playing a variety of musical instruments in public, and later performing on KWET radio in Palestine, Texas, starting in 1935. He also had a stint playing with Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys in 1938. He joined his stepbrother famed songwriter Jack Rhodes and formed Jack Rhodes and The Lone Star Buddies, in 1949.


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  • IamFlood

    Wrote a number of what are now standards. Where's the love?

    12 Nov 2013 Reply
  • jcshepard

    I'm a rolling stone, all alone and lost...

    10 Jul 2006 Reply

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