October 21, 1935: Country Musician Mel Street Born in Virginia

Oct 21, 2019

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Country musician Mel Street was born near Grundy, Virginia, on October 21, 1935. He gained early show business experience on WHIS radio and television in Bluefield. In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, he hosted his own radio show in Bluefield. During this time, he developed his signature honky-tonk style, inspired by country crooners of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

In 1970, he recorded the song ‘‘Borrowed Angel,” which was picked up by Royal American Records and became a top-10 hit in 1972.

Street moved to Nashville and followed up “Borrowed Angel” with 22 more hits, the most significant being ‘‘Lovin’ On Back Streets,’’ ‘‘Smokey Mountain Memories,’’ and ‘‘If I Had a Cheating Heart.’’ By the mid-1970s, he was considered one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in Nashville. However, clinical depression and alcoholism took a toll on him. Mel Street committed suicide on his 43rd birthday in 1978. Street’s idol, George Jones, sang at his funeral.

Four additional Mel Street songs were released after his death, including “The One Thing My Lady Never Puts Into Words,” which reached number 17 on the charts in 1979.