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Charlie McCoy


Musician Charles Ray McCoy may be the most significant harmonica player in country music history. Born in Oak Hill, March 28, 1941, McCoy moved to Florida as a child but retained close ties to his home community. He came to Nashville in 1959, and from the mid-’60s was heard on numerous recording sessions as well as on many of his own albums—mostly instrumental—for the Monument and Step One record labels. His best known numbers include ‘‘Today I Started Loving You Again’’ and ‘‘Orange Blossom Special.’’

While primarily a country musician, McCoy also performed with a rock ‘n’ roll band. He may be heard on albums by Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan. In addition to harmonica, he also plays drums, trumpet, and bass. McCoy served as musical director for the long-running television program Hee Haw. He was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry July 13, 2022.

Written by Ivan M. Tribe


  1. Tribe, Ivan M. Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984.