Man Convicted In Music Row Murder Dies In Prison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Richard D'Antonio, who was serving a life sentence for a notorious murder on Music Row, died last week in prison. Mr. D'Antonio had been providing evidence and testimony to CASHBOX for the magazines popular Murder On Music Row Series. He indicated to CASHBOX that he had nearly raised the needed funds for an appeal process and that he had passed two lie detector tests.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Correction said D’Antonio died of natural causes on September 10 at Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility.

D’Antonio was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 23-year-old Kevin Hughes.

D'Antonio was found guilty of shooting  and killing Hughes, a music researcher for Cash Box magazine, outside a recording studio in 1989.

Prosecutors said Hughes was shot and killed because he was trying to clean up a crooked record business.

D'Antonio was also convicted of assault with intent to commit second degree murder for the attempted murder of a second victim, singer Sammy Sadler.

The D'Antonio Letters
sent to CASHBOX from The 
Tennessee Prison Where He 
Was Serving A Life Sentence

Editors Commentary:

During the run of our series Murder On Music Row, we had a conversation with Richard and several letters from Richard which Cashbox printed.  Many people are not convinced that law enforcement in Tennessee ever did enough to find the real culprit.  Richard had passed two polygraph tests that were never considered along with several witnesses who were never questioned. CASHBOX was working to get to the bottom of this very murky case. Mr. D’Antonio may very well have taken the truth to his grave. There is compelling evidence to suggest that several others were involved.

One thing is for sure, an innocent man lost his life. Maybe one day evidence will surface to shed some more light on what really happened.

Bruce Elrod

Hawleys Higher Vision

Visit our
Rockin Robin Today
pages for his insightful and informative articles, videos, trivia and more!
Click here to read past stories.

 Read The
Letters From
Convicted Murderer
 Richard D'Antonio.
Click Here

Full Armor Productions Releases Their Compilation Of Classic Blues And gospel music!
  Containing classic blues gospel songs in their original form as well as new originals, 
Dusty King James", delivered by Full Armor Productions is rich in culture and positivity. 
From Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" to the 
title track, "Dusty King James" features veteran blues artists as well as 
new talent who are able to capture the essential message of the classic 
blues and gospel tracks contained in this compilation.
"Dusty King James" is available at CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and other online 
music outlets.

For more information on the compilation and to hear some of 

the tracks,visit

Christian St. James
is on

Visit his website here
Newberry Opera House

North Platte, Nebraska, humorist James Larson, has written five new songs available at they are:
Doctor Doctor, Hillary's Brain, Rush Limbaugh on the E.I.B., Duck Dynasty, Bigfoot, and a few serious songs Bring our P.O.W.s Home, Heaven Is For Real, Jesus, and A Labor of Love

Greg Finch Ministries

For some great award winning gospel music visit his website!
Just click the picture

Christian Gospel Artist
RC Kouba

George Hamilton IV Dead at 77


NASHVILLE -- George Hamilton IV, who had 40 country chart hits and five Top 40 pop hits, diedWednesday afternoon at St. Thomas Hospital, according to WSMV-TV/Nashville. He was 77. He'd been admitted to the hospital last weekend after suffering a heart attack. 

George Hamilton and Bruce Elrod
Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in 1991

While many people figured he called himself "the Fourth" so he wouldn't be confused with actor George Hamilton, it turns out that George Hamilton IV was famous BEFORE the actor George Hamilton. George Hamilton the actor didn't really surface in popularity until the movie "Where The Boys Are" in 1960. Meanwhile, George Hamilton IV had his first pop hit with "A Rose And A Baby Ruth" in 1956.  Then the next year, 1957, he had this top tenner that I can still remember Dick Clark playing on "American Bandstand"...

In 1959, he was part of a unique hit, one that him, Paul Anka and Johnny Nash--three solo singers on one hit record...

George Hamilton IV became a fixture on the Grand Ole Opry starting in 1960, often greeting fans taking the backstage tour. He became known as "The International Ambassador Of Country Music," thanks in part to this his  biggest country hit...

"Abilene" was #1 on the country chart for a month in the summer of '63.
The country star's 10th studio LP, Moonshine in the Trunk made its debut at Number One — his eighth album in a row to reach the top with first-week sales. He's number 1 on the CASHBOX charts.

By Bruce Elrod

My Commentary this week has three segments to it beginning with a real mystery


Yes Virginia, for twelve or so years the recording industry in America made a 162/3 rpm record.

Most were about the size of a 45rpm but full albums were made on this speed also with South Africa holding the record for rarest 16 speed LP's of Jim Reeves, Herb Albert, and Frank Sinatra.

These are very rare recordings and most folks never see them.

In America the 16 rpm record speed appears on most phonograph players from the mid 50's to the mid 60's.  The mystery lies in how it happened.  There is no record as to which company developed the speed or where it originated.  No one has an answer which is one of the mysteries of life.  Most 16 speed recordings were spoken word.  Most were made for religious organizations because of the low speed and blind societies used the recordings to teach braille.  The recordings are so rare you see very few of them and even on e-bay, most carry a premium over the other speeds.  I know of no known collector who has a huge collection of 16rpm recordings and they never appear in any price guide at the present time.

Much to my surprise, I went by my local goodwill store in Camden, S.C. and as a collector  I just can't keep myself away from the records.  I have too many already and don't need anymore.

I willed my collection long ago to the University of S.C. I picked up an LP and this little record fell out in very good condition and I asked the lady what she wanted for it and she said 10 cents so I took it home.  I had it sitting around for two months, then I picked it up and it was a16rpm EP recording of Fess Parker/Buddy Ebsen doing the Ballad of Davy Crockett through 3 tracks. The other two were spoken word from the movie, the 4th track being Gene Autry the song Champion.

Not one of all the collectors I know had ever seen a 16 speed recording EP. Iit actually had singing on it too. It is one of a kind and hopefully soon it will have a price put to it. Meanwhile Miss Ruth, an albino Pit Bull is guarding the record and she'll take good care of it. So don't be surprised at what bargains you can find at your local Goodwill Store.


Part Two


Begins with Alexa, the Web System for all businesses.  They have no contact number that I know of to report and catch hackers in action.  Most people believe this system to be accurate to the core.  I have been watching certain Internet hackers and I have the proof that have manipulated this site to its very core. Maybe by putting this in print someone may actually contact me by phone if the site even has a human element. I'm really beginning to doubt that they do.  I've emailed over 14 times to their abuse email link with no answer, so folks don't believe anything this site does till it comes up with a human element to deal with  abuse.  There are others out there that so far haven't had many problems like Quantcast.  I hate to put Alexa on the line.

Call or email us, the proof is in the pudding and it don't taste good.


 Part Three

Sometimes you have to be exact if you run a business and if every element is not in place, you may end up with nothing.  Corporations, LLC's, trademarks etc. are meaningless without that government stamp from the IRS or EIN number.  Everyone should get that number first before proceeding with all of the rest.  It has to be exact with the business.  Shortly another competitor will be out of business because they are using a name belonging to another company.  The IRS is in the process of shutting it down.  It is really sad when people believe in what they're told, lawyers get rich and they have to start all over with another name and hope it is not taken already. A domain name, bank account etc. is nothing without the EIN number which has to be exact to the business applied. For instance the Cashbox Ein no. starts with a 43, that's how old it is.


Ray Sanders was born in Hardin County, Kentucky in a log cabin home that was said to be a bit like the one Abe Lincoln was born in. His education in his younger years took place in schools in Kentucky, but college took him to Texas Western in El Paso, Texas where he got interested in the western way of life. At one time six foot two Ray said he wanted to make a home in the southwest someday.

While he was in El Paso, he said in an article in an old Cowboy Songs magazine that he started working at KHEY which was a 10,000 watt station back then. The station booked him for personal appearances all around the southwest in places such as El Paso, Tucson, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico and more.

He came back to Kentucky and worked with WLEX-TV out of Lexington. Later on, he was singing on the Mutual Radio Network. That got him in touch with many folks in the business and one of them was Hal Smith from Nashville, Tennesse. He got Ray a recording contract with Cullman Records and was booked on tours throughout the country.

When he got to appear on the WSM Grand Ole Opry, it got the attention of Libery Records who signed him to their roster and because of that, he moved to Hollywood to work on his recordings. Of the first six records he did with Liberty, he had seven songs hit the national charts. They reported that one disc jockey poll voted him number six best new singer.

In addition to his music interests, Ray had some business interests as well as being a writer and an electronic technician.

Some of the records that he did that did well for him included, "Dynamite", "Walking Blues" and "This Time". In 1959, he did a tune with the backup of the Jorndanaires - "I Can't Resist You" b/w "I'm So Afraid".

Listen to a great new Hillside Records release from the legendary 
Ray Sanders

Little Heart Of Dixie

Beach Music Charts

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We are pleased to bring you our exclusive interviews by long time CASHBOX interviewer 
Bob Sands. Click here.

We conducted an interview  with songwriter Johnny Spears. Johnny is a key figure in a song ownership dispute that has been playing out in a CASHBOX Exposed column. You will be able to hear Mr. Spears speak first hand about his inspiration for the song in question.  Click here for the interview.

Longtime friend of CASHBOX 
Rock legend Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells
offers a behind the scenes look at the creative process in the music business, including songwriting, recording and everything involved. Click the picture to visit his page for links to his
 "Inside Tracks" Series.

This is how we looked in the 1950's

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