Benny Barnes

Jan 1, 1934 – Aug 8, 1985


Singer and guitar player Benny Barnes' recordings made popular several songs of the Big Bopper, including "Poor Man's Riches" (1956), "Beggar to a King" (1959), and  "Token of Love" in 1960. 


Barnes became one of the most significant properties of Jack Clement and Bill Hall's Gulf Coast Recording Company.  He was a friend of George Jones, who mentored him and used his talents on rhythm guitar in his road band. 


His last chart entry came in 1961 on Mercury Records with "Yearning," written by Eddie Eddings and George Jones.


Although subsequent recordings were unsuccessful, Barnes appeared on the Louisiana Hayride, and continued to record for various other labels throughout his career. In his later years, Barnes operated a tavern in Beaumont and continued to record until shortly before his death in 1985.

Benny Barnes performs "Last Message."
Tex Ritter Portrait