The “International Ambassador of Country Music” died at 77

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2026

He began performing in the late 1950s as a teen idol. Hamilton helped to popularize country music far beyond the United States, performing at festivals across Europe. He scored a major hit in 1956 with “A Rose and a Baby Ruth”, while a 19-year-old student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hamilton’s breakthrough hit was the 1961 song “Before this Day Ends”. His last Top 5 single came in 1970, with “She’s a Little Bit Country”. Hamilton was instrumental in organizing London’s International Festival of Country Music at Wembley Stadium in 1969. He performed in the world, across the Soviet Union, Poland, Australia, the Middle East and East Asia. With the acoustic gospel album “On a Blue Ridge Sunday” he received a Dove Award nomination in the “Best Bluegrass Album of the Year” in 2004. Hamilton was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010   In the last years, he was still drawing crowds in England, whether in concert halls or in the churches.

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