- Songwriter with hits including "Wolverton Mountain," "Ring of Fire" which he co-wrote with June Carter-Cash, "Johnny Reb," and "More and More"
- Member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Acted in Coal Miner's Daughter, Robert Altman's Nashville, and Roadie
Merle Kilgore's illustrious career involved every facet of show business, beginning at age 14 with his first gig carrying Hank Williams Sr.'s guitar at the Louisiana Hayride. He entered professional show business at age 18 as a disc jockey and penned his first million-selling song at age 22. Named one of Billboard magazine's Top 10 songwriters, Kilgore wrote hit after hit, including "Wolverton Mountain," "Ring of Fire" which he co-wrote with June Carter-Cash, "Johnny Reb," and "More and More."
As a performer, Kilgore released multiple Top 10 records including his self-penned Dear Mama and Love Has Made You Beautiful. His acting career featured him in the box office hits Coal Miner's Daughter, Robert Altman's Nashville, and Roadie. He also had the rare opportunity to portray himself in NBC-Telecom's Living Proof, the life story of Hank Williams Jr.
Kilgore began his management career at Shapiro-Bernstein Music in 1962 and became the general manager of Hank Williams Jr.'s music publishing companies in 1969. He continued his affiliation with Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises for more than 30 years, serving as Williams' personal manager for 19 years.
Kilgore served as Vice President of the Country Music Association and as a member of its Board of Directors. He was president of both the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Nashville Songwriters Foundation. Kilgore was voted by his peers as CMA's first Manager of the Year in 1990 and in 1998 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Merle Kilgore passed away in 2005.
Inducted to the Music City Walk of Fame on April 20, 2008.