December 21,1926 - October 27, 2018
Born Fred Segrest, Hart was one of 15 children of sharecropper parents. He had to grow up quickly, at the age of five he began playing the guitar, by age 12 he had quit school and started working for his parents. At age 15, with the outbreak of World War II, he lied about his age and joined the Marine Corps., seeing action at both Guam and Iwo Jima. While in the military, Hart developed an interest in the martial arts, earning Black Belts in both Karate and Judo. After the war he taught self defense at the L.A. Police Academy.
In 1948, he met Hank Williams who taught him a great deal about songwriting. Then in 1951, he joined Lefty Frizzell's band for a year. It was through Frizzell that Hart got his first recording contract with Capitol Records.
By 1959 he had his first hit recording - "The Wall" on Columbia Records. It was in 1971, that Hart had his big hit "Easy Lovin'". The song went to number one on the country charts and to number seventeen on the pop charts. It won two Grammy awards and was recognized by The Country Music Association as "The Song of the Year" for two years in a row - 1971 and 1972.
Hart's songwriting has generated hits for Porter Wagoner and Charlie Rich among others. In discussing his songwriting Hart says, "I try to put down in my songs what every man wants to say, and what every woman wants to hear".