By the spring of 1963, Buck was teetering on the verge of success
hed pursued day and night for nearly a decade. He hired
more musicians, including a drummer, a pedal steel player, and a
bass player. The Ford gave way to a Chevrolet camper. The group
had no name until one of Bucks early bass players, a talented
Bakersfield musician named Merle Haggard, dubbed them "The
In the spring of 1963 came the record that established him as
a lasting presence: "Act Naturally," which remained
at #1 for four weeks. Though hed worked with Nashville agents
like Eddie Crandall and Bob Neal, he needed a manager who understood
him. That manager came along, by luck, when Buck got a call from
Las Vegas-based booking agent Jack McFadden.
Buck met McFadden by chance in 1963. He was booked for a
couple of dates in Oregon and Washington, and asked Jack to book
enough dates to turn it into a 10-day tour. Jack, a gifted salesman,
returned with 16 dates booked for more money than Buck had asked
for. Buck was impressed. Within a few months, Jack became his manager
the only manager Buck has ever had. Until Buck quit the road
in 1980, McFadden managed no other artists.
"I knew Buck was my type of artist," McFadden remembers,
"because he was as hungry as I was. We made our deal on a handshake,
with the motto Whatever it takes." Buck also savors
the association: "Its been a wonderful relationship and
its worked. Jack is a very fine, warm human being, and Im
crazy about him."
With "Act Naturally," McFadden remembers that Buck
pushed himself even harder. "He drove thousands and thousands
of miles in the camper. He never missed a date. Hed play clubs,
starting at 9 at night till 1 in the morning, and never leave the
stage. That is a managers dream, to have a person that will
give that much of themselves. Never due to his own fault was he
ever late. I went on almost every date with him. He did everything
I ever, ever asked him to do and more. We put in the contract a
60-minute show, and hell, hed do two hours."
In mid 63, with "Act Naturally" off the charts
Buck recorded the follow up. "Loves Gonna Live Here,"
another "freight train" number, spent 8 weeks at #1 according
to Billboard. The next single, "My Heart Skips A Beat,"
was #1 for seven weeks in 64, and also hit the top of the
Billboard charts. The singles B-side, "Together
Again," came up just below it at #2. Then one week the positions
reversed, a remarkable, nearly unheard of achievement. The distinctive
sound of Bucks records had caught the publics fancy.