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This profile was last updated on 6/1/06  and contains information from public web pages.


Local Address:  Nashville , Tennessee , United States
Country Music Disc Hall of Fame

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Academy of Western Artists Awards
155 Total References
Web References
Monterey County Herald | 06/01/2006 | Saddle up!, 1 June 2006 [cached]
"In this album, 'Way Out Yonder,' you will find some of the finest voicing and writing of Jack Hannah since they first started recording," said Johnny Western, a member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame and The Western Music Hall of Fame.
Johnny Western, 3 Sept 2005 [cached]
Johnny Western's career reads like A-Autry, B-Boone and C-Cash. Johnny signed on with his hero, Gene Autry, on the 4th of July, 1956 as Gene's featured singer and personal guitarist, when Johnny Bond left the show after 17 years.
Johnny Western, Richard Boone and the show's creator, Sam Rolfe formed a song writing partnership that has lasted for nearly 40 years now.
Johnny Cash moved to Hollywood in 1958 and signed Western to be a featured performer and MC of his road show.
Western also played guitar on 71 singles and 5 albums with Cash when they were both recording for Columbia Records.
Today, Johnny Western does a daily radio show for Journal Broadcast Group at KFDI in Wichita, KS. Journal Broadcast Group has 15 stations in it's network in 4 states and KFDI is the flagship station. They feature a great deal of cowboy and western music in their regular programming . Western continues to tour and perform at rodeos, film festivals and western music events through out the world.
Johnny Western was born Oct. 28, 1934 in Two Harbors, MN.
Prior to that, Johnny had gained much acclaim. As a high school sophomore, he did a full time radio show on KDHL in Northfield, MN that brought him to the attention of Billboard Magazine, which dubbed him the youngest DJ and singer in commercial radio. He was a singing cowboy on KMMT-TV and landed a contract with a small studio at age 16 which led to his first release, "The Violet and the Rose," eventually becoming a country standard. He also sang with the Sons of the Pioneers. It was then that he met Autry who took him under his wing.
When Autry retired in 1957, Johnny was signed by Gene's agent, Mitchell Hamiburg.
Through him, Johnny did a pilot called Pony Express, which opened the floodgates. Over the next two years, he was cast in five feature western films and 32 episodes of television westerns.
Johnny Western has been a member of the legendary KFDI in Wichita, Kansas since 1985. When Johnny relates stories to his listeners about the country stars, he's not reading from some script, he has been there and lived each story he tells. Johnny still does extensive touring, working film festivals and western music shows all across America. As always, he comes home to his radio roots when the shows are completed.
Johnny was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 2000.
Johnny Western is a true living legend, not only in radio, but television, recordings and the silver screen as well. He is truly the last of the silver screen cowboys.
In June-2000, Johnny was inducted into the prestigious Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in Nashville and America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame-Avoca, Iowa. In November-2001, Johnny Western received the ultimate honor for a Cowboy Singer and Cowboy Movie/Television Personality. He was inducted into the Western Music Association Hall of Fame, where he joins all his heroes like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen and the like. What a tribute for a man who has given over fifty years of his life to the Cowboy Culture in America.
In March, 2003, Johnny will receive "The Cowboy Spirit of the West" award from The National Festival of the West in Scottsdale, Arizona. The theme in 2003 will be "Balladeers of the West," and Johnny Western is the perfect choice for this great honor.
Johnny is still out there working Country Music shows and Cowboy events all across the USA. Listen to his show for dates and venues. When Johnny relates a story about his country music friends, you can rest assured he has lived it.
Singer and songwriter Johnny Western is one of the last of the singing cowboys. He is probably best known to western fans as the writer of 'The Ballad of Paladin' theme song for television's "Have Gun-Will Travel."
Gilliam and Western Western was born Oct. 28, 1934 in Two Harbors, MN.
Western also played guitar on 71 singles and 5 albums with Cash when they were both recording for Columbia Records.
Johnny Western still appears occasionally with Johnny Cash.
In addition to song writing and performing, Johnny Western has acted in films such as 1962's Night Rider and in the television show "Have Gun Will Travel."
Western does a daily radio show for Wichita's KFDI, featuring cowboy and western music. He continues to tour and perform at rodeos, film festivals, and western music events. In March 2003, Western will receive the Cowboy Spirit of the West award at the National Festival of the West in Scottsdale, Arizona.
KFDI's Johnny Western grew up with a keen sense of Cowboys and Outlaws. He was raised in Northfield, Minnesota, the town where the James Gang had their raid on the First National Bank in 1876. Thank goodness, Johnny chose to favor the good guys in the white hats, like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen and all the other great stars of the Western Movies.
At age 15, while still in High School, Johnny became a deejay and singing cowboy on KDHD in Northfield. 'Billboard Magazine' stated he was the youngest deejay and singer on commercial radio in the United States at that time.
By age 16, he became a singing cowboy on KMMT-TV and got his first recording contract with J.O.C.O. Records, a Minneapolis-St. Paul label. In 1953-1954, Western had his own television show, 'Circle 6 Ranch Time', where he introduced the daily western movie.
Western wrote The Ballad Of Paladin, theme song for the TV series 'Have Gun Will Travel' starring Richard Boone, which ran from 1957 - 1963.
Western was signed to Columbia Records by Mitch Miller.
In 1958, Johnny Cash asked Western to join his show as emcee and
At Columbia, both Cash and Western were produced by the legendary Don Law.
Johnny was a featured musician on most of Johnny Cash's recordings from August 1959 through April 1963.
Johnny Western has appeared in over 50 western movies and TV westerns such as 'Have Gun Will Travel', 'Pony Express,' 'Gunsmoke,' 'Boots & Saddles,' 'Wells Fargo,' and 'Bat Masterson'.
It's only fitting that the Western Music Hall Of Fame has honored this life long movie and television cowboy. His contributions to the cowboy culture rates right up there with all the folks he calls his friends and heroes of the silver screen. He will take his rightful place in the Hall Of Fame. Johnny is also a member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall Of Fame in Nashville and America's Old Time Country Music Hall Of Fame in Avoca, Iowa. In addition to his constant touring schedule, he holds down his daily radio show on Classic Country AM 1070-KFDI in Wichita, Kansas.
Johnny Western, we salute you my dear friend.
"They played Folsom Prison Blues. I nearly wrecked my car, I got so excited with his voice and that beat!"
Johnny Western worked with Johnny Cash for many years as well as pursuing a successful career in his own right.
As recorded by Johnny Western
Written by Johnny Western, Richard Boone and S. Rolfe
Johnny ..., 3 July 2011 [cached]
Johnny Western Country Radio Broadcasters
Country Radio Broadcasters
Johnny Western Johnny Western (born: Two Harbors, MN Oct 28, 1934) is an accomplished actor, performer and songwriter who got his start on, and currently works in, radio. Western decided to be a singer on his fifth birthday, when his parents took him to see a 1936 Western called Guns and Guitars starring Gene Autry. For his 12th birthday, he received a guitar and a year later he joined a trio which was hired by KDHL Faribault, MN in 1949. In addition to singing, he acted as a DJ and host, introducing live and recorded Country & Western music. He earned a mention in Billboard magazine as the youngest DJ and singer on American radio. In 1953, he joined KAUS, Austin, MS and became a singing cowboy on its sister station. KMMT-TV. In 1954 he moved to Hollywood and earned a place in Gene Autry's band, replacing Johnny Bond. as a guitarist and singer. After Autry retired from performing, Western did a pilot for a series called Pony Express which, in turn, led to appearances in more than 30 other television shows (including Gunsmoke) and several feature films, including The Dalton Girls, Fort Bowie, and Gunfight at Dodge City. In 1957, a new series called Have Gun, Will Travel went into production Western was cast in a small role in one episode, and while working on the show he composed a song about the series' hero, Paladin. "The Ballad of Paladin" was adopted as the show's closing theme. He joined Johnny Cash's band as a singer/guitarist band for six years, playing rhythm guitar on recordings such as "Johnny Yuma, The Rebel," and "The Little Drummer Boy," among many others. Western was also befriended by Marty Robbins who later participated in Western's recordings.
Johnny Western was inducted into the Country Music D J Hall of Fame is 2000. He is currently heard on KFDI "The Ranch" from 11:00 to 4:00 pm daily.
Blazin Western Music Legend to Appear in Cottonwood, 29 April 2011 [cached]
Johnny Western will visit Blazin´M Ranch in Friday, April 29, 2011 Blazin Western Music Legend to Appear in Cottonwood
Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council, Arizona (USA)
Cottonwood, AZ-"Have Gun, Will Travel" ranks among the best western TV shows of all times, thanks in no small part to the theme song, "The Ballad of Paladin."The evocative song's originator, music legend Johnny Western, will visit Blazin' M Ranch on Friday, April 29, 2011
Anyone who's ever imagined being a cowboy has the music of Johnny Western woven through his dreams.Elected to the Western Music Association Hall of Fame in 2001, Western's career began at the age of 13 on the radio; he is acclaimed by Billboard magazine as American radio's youngest disc jockey and singer.
TODAY'S KFDI-FM 101.3, 3 May 2010 [cached]
Wichita Radio icon Johnny Western is retiring. The last show for Johnny will be on KFDI's sister station, AM1070 The Ranch on Saturday from 10a to 2pm. After that show, Johnny is hanging up his headphones to move to Mesa Arizona, where many of his children and grandchildren live. Johnny has been a part of Wichita's rich country music history since 1986 when he joined the KFDI staff.
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