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While attending Olympia High School (from which he graduated in 1959), Rich played in various local venues, as well as in the high school orchestra. In September 1957, at age 16, he opened for Elvis Presley at the Tacoma Lincoln Bowl. He also formed an early rock and roll band called the Blue Comets with his friends, drummer Greg Hawkins and pianist Steve Anderson. By 1958, Rich was playing regularly at Steve's Gay '90s Restaurant in South Tacoma. Buck Owens , who was living in Tacoma while working at radio station KAYE, attended one of his shows and immediately went to speak with him; Rich was soon playing fiddle with Owens at local venues. [1] They were featured on the weekly BAR-K Jamboree on KTNT-TV 13, where Loretta Lynn was a guest with them for her television debut. Soon after, Owens' "Under Your Spell Again" made it to No. 4 [2] on the country music charts, and he returned to Bakersfield, California to do more recording for Capitol Records . [1]

Beginning in 1969, Owens co-hosted the TV series Hee Haw with Roy Clark . He left the cast in 1986. The accidental death of Rich, his best friend, in 1974 devastated him for years and abruptly halted his career until he performed with Dwight Yoakam in 1988. [ citation needed ] Owens died on March 25, 2006 shortly after performing at his Crystal Palace restaurant, club and museum in Bakersfield.

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