Born in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 28, 1936, Charlie Daniels continues to be a popular country music performer over 50 years after he began his career. Daniels moved from his native North Carolina to Nashville in the early '50s and began working as a session musician and songwriter in the city's electric country music scene. Though Daniels is best known for his fiddle playing, he is also a proficient guitarist, and, after cutting his teeth, he set off on his own, recording his self-titled debut 1971. Daniels didn't achieve notoriety until his sophomore album, Honey in the Rock, was released in 1973, as it featured his first popular single "Uneasy Rider." "Uneasy Rider" is a light-hearted, half-spoken/half-sung (think Johnny Cash's "Boy Named Sue") road story about a hippie escaping a gang of good ole boys in Jackson, Mississippi.
From there, he formed the Charlie Daniels Band, and the group scored their first platinum album with 1974's Fire on the Mountain. The album's impressive sales were primarily due to the popular singles "The South's Gonna Do It" and "Long Haired Country Boy." Daniels also grabbed gold records with 1976's Saddle Tramp and the following year's Midnight Wind.
However, Charlie Daniels' greatest success came with his 1979 LP, Million Mile Reflections, which featured his most iconic song, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The track tells the story of a fiddle-off between the Devil and a young fiddle player named Johnny. The upbeat, entertaining song shows off not only Daniels' incredible fiddle playing but also his knack for telling engaging stories in song.
As Daniels ages, he continues to be prolific, releasing around one album per year through the end of the '00s. Now well into his 70s, Daniels remains in the public eye and continues to rack up the accolades. In 2008, Charlie Daniels was inducted into Nashville's prestigious Grand Ole Opry. He is also known for being outspoken when it comes to political issues, criticizing both liberal and conservative politicians. He's an ardent advocate of supporting American soldiers and often performs for the troops. He is still very much the freewheeling, long-haired, good-natured free spirit that he was in his 20s and 30s.
Charlie Daniels suffered a mild stroke while riding a snowmobile in Colorado on January 15, 2010 but was fortunately able to make a full recovery.