STUCKEY, NATHAN WRIGHT II [NAT]

Josh Shepherd

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STUCKEY, NATHAN WRIGHT II [NAT] (1933–1988). Nathan Wright Stuckey II, musician, songwriter, radio disc jockey, and booking agent, was born in Cass County, Texas, on December 17, 1933. He was the son of William Perry Stuckey and Mattie Estelle (Graves) Stuckey. Known better as Nat Stuckey, he started his musical career as a country music disc jockey before becoming a singer–songwriter and eventually recording several Top 10 songs.

Raised in Atlanta, Texas, Nat Stuckey learned to play guitar from his uncle. After graduating from Atlanta High School in 1952, Stuckey attended Arlington State College and graduated with an associates degree in radio and television. After college, Stuckey became a disc jockey at KALT in Atlanta, Texas. Stuckey worked for KALT for two years before entering the United States Army. He worked with Armed Forces Radio and TV in Korea and New York City. After his two years in the army, he returned to work at KALT. Stuckey played with an eight-piece jazz band from 1957 to 1958 then became the leader of a country band, the Corn Huskers, from 1958 to 1959. He continued to perform, as well as work at KALT. Stuckey’s talents landed him a job at KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he became a regular performer on the Louisiana Hayride from 1962 to 1966.

In 1964 Stuckey recorded his first single, “Leave the Door Open,” for Sims Records. In 1965 he signed with Paula Records, a Shreveport-based label. His third single, “Sweet Thang,” recorded on Paula Records, made the Billboard Top 5 in 1966. Sound Format named Stuckey the “Star of Tomorrow,” and he received a BMI award for “Sweet Thang.” In 1967 Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb recorded a hit version of “Sweet Thang.” Stuckey also wrote “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line,” which became a Number 1 song for Buck Owens and earned Stuckey another BMI award. In 1967 Stuckey’s song “Pop a Top” was a Top 5 hit for Jim Ed Brown. That same year he formed his own backing band called the Sweet Thangs. Over the years, Stuckey penned several other hit songs. In 1968 he moved to Nashville and signed with RCA Records. That year he had another Top 10 hit with his song “Plastic Saddle.” While in Nashville, Stuckey and his wife Ann established a booking agency, Music Row Talent, Inc. He also operated a successful real estate business through his Texas Promised Land Development Company. In 1969 he had three Top 20 hits and another Top 10 song with his composition “Sweet Thang and Cisco.” Stuckey also recorded two duets with Connie Smith, “Young Love” and “If God is Dead (Who’s that Living in my Soul?).” In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Stuckey toured extensively throughout Europe. “Take Time to Love Her” made the Top 10 in 1973.

In 1976 Stuckey joined MCA Records but did not enjoy the same level of songwriting success that he had previously. His final entry in the Billboard charts was the 1978 song, “The Days of Sand and Shovels.” During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, as Stuckey’s songwriting career ebbed with the rise of the pop sound in mainstream country music, he became increasingly involved in recording commercial jingles for regional and national media, including many for Budweiser beer.

In 1988 Nat Stuckey was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died two months later on August 24, 1988, in Nashville, Tennessee. His ashes were scattered at Center Hill Lake in Smithville, Tennessee. He was survived by his wife Ann. In 2002 he was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music (New York: Harmony Books, 1977). Barry McCloud, Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and Its Performers (New York: Perigee, 1995). “Nathan Wright ‘Nat’ Stuckey, II,” Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=40563528), accessed September 1, 2010. Irwin Stambler and Grelun Landon, Country Music: The Encyclopedia (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000). Texas Country Music Hall of Fame 2002 Inductees (http://www.carthagetexas.com/HallofFame/inductees_02.htm), accessed September 1, 2010.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Josh Shepherd, "STUCKEY, NATHAN WRIGHT II [NAT]," accessed May 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fstdg.

Uploaded on May 27, 2015. Modified on November 1, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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