Monday, March 2, 2009 – Ernie Ashworth, longtime star of the Grand Ole Opry, died in Nashville today at 80. Ashworth's heyday was in the 1960s with the number 1 song Talk Back Trembling Lips.
Born Ernest Bert Ashworth in Huntsville, Ala. on Dec. 15, 1928, he began his career singing on Huntsville radio station WBHP. In 1949, he moved to Nashville where he worked for several radio stations and was signed by Wesley Rose as a songwriter for Acuff-Rose Music. Among the artists who recorded his songs between 1949 and 1955 were Jimmy Dickens, Carl Smith, Johnny Horton and Paul Anka.
Due to lack of success as a recording artist, in 1957, he returned to Huntsville and began working at the Redstone Arsenal, doing guided missile work. Three years later, Rose arranged a recording contract for him with Decca Records. Billed as "Ernest Ashworth," his first single, Each Moment (Spent With You) became a top five hit. Later that year, You Can't Pick A Rose In December went into the Top 10 and in 1961, Forever Gone made it to 15.
In 1962, he moved to Hickory Records, the label owned by Acuff-Rose, and he scored a Top 5 Hit with Everybody But Me going to number 3 and a Top 10 with I Take The Chance.
But it was his third release for Hickory that would become his signature song and the number one smash. Talk Back Trembling Lips stayed on the national charts for 42 weeks and also did quite well on the pop charts.
Ashworth joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964. More chart records followed including The D.J. Cried, At Ease Heart and I Love To Dance With Annie. Ashworth continued to be a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry, but he never reached the top 15 after 1966.
In 1989, he turned businessman by purchasing radio station WSLV in Ardmore, Tenn. Ashworth continued appearing at the Grand Ole Opry.