When the third wife of chart topping California born honky tonker Gary Allan died of a self inflicted gun shot wound early on Monday October 25 it was the latest in a series of country music tragedies.

Police are investigating the death of Angela L Herzberg in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville.

They were called to Allan's home Monday at 1:20 a.m., to find she had apparently shot herself.

Additional forensic examinations are continuing that "may require days or weeks," the police chief said.

Gary Allan
Allan, real name Gary Allan Herzberg, and Angela both aged 36, and moved from Huntington Beach, California, in 2003 after they wed in 2001.

They have six children from their previous marriages.

Tennessee State Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Levy supports initial reports that the wound was self-inflicted.

"A preliminary ruling from the state medical examiner's staff is that the death is the result of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound," Hendersonville Police Chief David L. Key said.

Allan's record label, MCA Nashville, confirmed the death and said in a statement, "We ask for your prayers for Angela's family and friends and especially for the children during this unimaginable time in their lives."

Allan, who has toured Australia twice, cancelled dates, including an October 28 show in Portland, Maine, and weekend gigs in Uncasville, Connecticut and Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.

The CMA had announced Monday that Allan would serve as a presenter at the CMA Awards on November 9.

Allan won enthusiastic audiences on his Australian tours that included a memorable concert at the now defunct Continental Café in the inner Melbourne suburb, Prahran, with his hot band The Rhythm Wranglers.

Ironically, Mrs Herzberg died almost 11 months after Allan mentor Gary Stewart shot himself at his Fort Pierce home in Florida on December 16, 2003.

Stewart, 59, killed himself with a bullet to the head, less than four weeks after Mary Lou, his wife of 42 years, passed away in her sleep from an apparent heart attack.

CLICK HERE for our tribute to the man who Time magazine once dubbed "the king of honky-tonk" from the DIARY on December 21.


Life imitates art for many country artists torn between their battles with demons diverse as booze and dope.

Faron Young, the Singing Sheriff, died on December 10, 1996, after shooting himself in the head with a 38 pistol from his extensive gun collection at his Hermitage home in Nashville.
Young, 64, divorced father of four, shot himself after suffering emphysema and having prostate cancer surgery.

The Louisiana born singer who took his nickname from his role in 1955 movie Hidden Guns, had a house full of guns, badges and honorary sheriff titles.
< Faron Young

Young's first chart action was in 1951 with Tattle Tale Eyes and Have I Waited Too Long?

Faron reached #2 in 1953 with Goin' Steady and last made the Billboard charts with Here's To You at #87 in 1989.

Young's best known hit here was Four In The Morning - perhaps the time he chose to shoot holes in his ceiling and be bashed with a pool cue in a Nashville kicker bar.

When Young was dating Billy Jean Eshlimar the late legend Hank William held a pistol to Faron's head and took Eshlimar away from him.

Billy Jean was the second wife of Hank when he died in the back of a Cadillac on New Year's Eve 1952.

She was also the wife of the late star Johnny Horton when he died at 35 in a car crash en route to Nashville from Texas on November 5, 1960.

Ironically, the last gigs both Hank and Horton performed were at famed Skyline Club in Austin.

Young - one time publisher of Music City News - was honoured with a lyric change in the late Shel Silverstein penned Dr Hook hit Cover Of The Rolling Stone.


Acclaimed stone country singer Mel Street shot himself at his Hendersonville home on his 45th birthday on October 21, 1978.

Street, born in West Virginia, ascended from his TV show in home state to the national charts in 1970 with House Of Pride.

The flip side Borrowed Angel reached #10 in 1972 and prompted a brace of lauded hits such as Lovin' On Backstreets, Walk Softly On The Bridges, Forbidden Angel, I Met A Friend Of Yours Today and Barbara, Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know.

Street also had a hit with Smokey Mountain Memories that later charted for the writer Earl Thomas Conley

Conley also wrote the gaudy gem, When I'm Under The Table I'll Be Over You.

Street was honoured on the Dave Sanger produced 1998 Texas cheating concept disc The Wandering Eyes - Songs Of Forbidden Love.

Thrice wed Texan troubadour Dale Watson performed Street hit Lovin' On Backstreets and Asleep At The Wheel fiddler Jason Roberts sang Street tune Forbidden Angel.

And for good measure Rosie Flores was vocalist on the Sterling Whipple penned Gary Stewart hit In Some Room Above The Street.

Another country progeny to suicide was Billy Nelson who toured here with his dad - singing actor Shotgun Willie - on his first Australian sojourn in 1981.

Billy was word perfect on the Dead Livers hit I'd Love To Have A Joint With Willie by the time he arrived home in Texas.

Australian country music has suffered a spate of suicides dating back to Russ Hawking of The Hawking Brothers, on November 2, 1976, Wild Bill Williams of Canberra and guitarist Trevor Rhodes of Brisbane band Buckskin who released an album for Festival in 1978.

CLICK HERE for an interview with Gary Allan and CD reviews.

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