LeDoux was born in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was of French descent on his father's side. His father was in the US Air Force and was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base at the time of his birth. The family moved often when he was a child, due to his father's Air Force career. He learned to ride horses while visiting his grandparents on their Michigan farm. At age 13, LeDoux participated in his first rodeo, riding in Denison, Texas, and before long was winning junior rodeo competitions.
LeDoux continued to compete in rodeo events and played football through his high school years, with rodeos keeping most of his attention. When his family moved to Cheyenne, he attended Cheyenne Central High School. After twice winning the Wyoming State Rodeo Championship bareback riding title during high school, LeDoux earned a rodeo scholarship to Casper College in Casper. During his junior year at Eastern New Mexico University, LeDoux won the Intercollegiate National bareback riding Championship .
LeDoux married Peggy Rhoads (image) on January 4, 1972, and they had five children.
Rodeo success and music beginnings
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.
His years of hard work bore fruit in 1976, when LeDoux won the world bareback riding championship at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. Winning the championship gave LeDoux more credibility with music audiences, as he now had proof that the cowboy songs he wrote were authentic. LeDoux continued competing for the next four years. He retired in 1980 to nurse injuries and to spend more time with his growing family.
With his rodeo career at an end, LeDoux and his family settled on a ranch in Kaycee, Wyoming. LeDoux 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 more than 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 refused to sign a recording contract, instead choosing to retain his independence and control over his work while enjoying his regional following.
Despite offers from various record labels, LeDoux refused to sign a recording contract, instead choosing to retain his independence and 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)." Capitalizing 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 10. The title track, a duet with Brooks, became LeDoux's first and only Top 10 country single, reaching No. 7 in 1992. In concert, he ended the song by saying, "Thanks, Garth!"
For the next decade, LeDoux continued to record for Liberty. He released six additional records, including One Road Man, which made the country Top 40 in the 1998. Toward the end of his career, LeDoux began recording material written by other artists, which he attributed to the challenge of composing new lyrics. With his 2000 release, Cowboy, he returned to his roots, re-recording many of his earliest songwriting creations.
For the 35th annual Grammy Awards in 1992, the single track "Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy" was nominated for Best Country Vocal Collaboration.
The RIAA holds two gold and one platinum certifications for LeDoux. In February 22, 1993, the single "Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy" went gold. In June 2, 1997, the album The "Best of Chris LeDoux" went gold. And in October 5, 2005, the album "20 Greatest Hits" went platinum.
Illness and death
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 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 diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma for which he underwent radiation treatment until his death on March 9, 2005 from the cancer.
He was survived by his wife of 33 years, Peggy, and their children Clay, Ned, Will, Beau, and Cindy, as well as his mother, Bonnie.
(Chris LeDoux: Love this pic. Remind me of when he performed at Lagoon every year and brought his family with him.)
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Wikipedia: This page was last edited on 17 August 2018, at 00:50 (UTC).