Ralph Stanley (Ralph Edmund Stanley)

Ralph Stanley

Known in the world of bluegrass music by the popular title, “Dr. Ralph Stanley” (after being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee in 1976), Ralph Stanley was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1992 and in 2000, and became the first person to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in the third millennium. He joined producers Randall Franks and Alan Autry for the In the Heat of the Night cast CD Christmas Time’s A Comin’, performing “Christmas Time’s A Comin'” with the cast on the CD released on Sonlite and MGM/UA; it was one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers. He was featured in the Josh Turner hit song “Me and God” released in 2006. In 2006, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. On November 10, 2007, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys performed at a rally for presidential candidate John Edwards in Des Moines, Iowa, just before the Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. Between renditions of “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “Orange Blossom Special”, Stanley told the crowd that he had cast his first vote for Harry S. Truman in 1948 and would cast his next for John Edwards in 2008. Country singer Dwight Yoakam has stated that Ralph Stanley is one of his “musical heroes.”

Ralph Stanley’s autobiography, Man of Constant Sorrow, coauthored with the music journalist Eddie Dean, was released by Gotham Books on October 15, 2009.[8] In 2012, Stanley was featured on several tracks of the soundtrack for Nick Cave’s film Lawless, with music by Cave and Warren Ellis. His solo track “White Light/White Heat” is prominent in several scenes of the movie. Stanley maintained an active touring schedule; appearances in recent years have included the 2012 Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville, TN, and the 2013 FreshGrass Festival in North Adams, MA. In June 2013, he announced a farewell tour, scheduled to begin in Rocky Mount, NC, on October 18 and extending to December 2014. However, upon notification of being elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (awarded October 11, 2014) a statement on his own website appeared, saying that he would not be retiring. On June 23, 2016, Stanley died as a result of skin cancer.

More Images

  • 19978019_118228592063 -


  • February, 25, 1927
  • McClure, Virginia


  • June, 23, 2016
  • Coeburn, Virginia

Cause of Death

  • skin cancer


  • Hills of Home Cemetery
  • McClure, Virginia

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