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Chris LeDoux Biography

Home > Music > L > LeDoux, Chris > Biography

Birth Name: Chris Lee LeDoux
Born: 1948/10/02
Birth Place: Biloxi, Mississippi
Died: 2005/03/09
Years Active: 1971-2005
Genres: Country

Chris Lee LeDoux (October 2, 1948 – March 9, 2005) was an American country music singer-songwriter, bronze sculptor and rodeo champion. During his career LeDoux recorded thirty-six albums (many self-released) which have sold more than six million units in the United States. He was awarded one gold album certification from the RIAA, and was nominated for a Grammy Award and the Academy of Country Music Music Pioneer Award.

In 1970, LeDoux became a professional rodeo cowboy, competing on the national rodeo circuit. To help pay his expenses while traveling the country, he began composing songs describing his lifestyle. Within two years, he had written enough songs to make up an album, and soon established a recording company, American Cowboy Songs, with his father. After recording his songs in a friend's basement, LeDoux began selling his albums out of the back of his truck at rodeo events. He retired in 1980 to nurse injuries and to spend more time with his growing family.

With his rodeo career ended, LeDoux and his family settled on a ranch in Kaycee, Wyoming. He continued to write and record his songs, and began playing concerts. His concerts were very popular, and often featured a mechanical bull (which he rode between songs) and fireworks. By 1982 he had sold over 250,000 copies of his albums, with little or no marketing. By the end of the decade he had self-released 22 albums.

Despite offers from various record labels, LeDoux had refused to sign a recording contract, instead choosing to retain his independence and total control over his work while enjoying his regional following. In 1989, however, he shot to national prominence when he was mentioned in the debut song of Garth Brooks' Top-10 country hit "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)." To capitalize on the sudden attention, LeDoux signed a contract with Capitol Records subsidiary Liberty Records and released his first national album, “Western Underground,” in 1991. His follow-up album, “Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy,” was certified gold and reached the top ten. The title track, a duet with Brooks, became LeDoux's first and only Top Ten country single, reaching No. 7 in 1992.

For the next decade, LeDoux continued to record for Liberty. He released six additional records, one of which, 1998's “One Road Man,” made the country Top 40. With his 2000 release, “Cowboy,” he returned to his roots, re-recording many of his earliest songwriting creations.

In August 2000, LeDoux was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, which required him to receive a liver transplant. Garth Brooks volunteered to donate part of his liver, but it was found to be incompatible. An alternative donor was located, and LeDoux received a transplant on October 7, 2000. After his recovery he released two additional albums. In November 2004, LeDoux was diagonsed cholangiocarcinoma and underwent radiation treatment for it until his death on March 9, 2005 of complications from the disease at a Casper, Wyoming hospital.