Country Chatter

Joe Diffie dies from complications of Coronavirus


Joe Diffie announced in a statement on Friday that he had the coronavirus (COVID-19). Two days later the popular country singer of the 90’s and early 2000’s is dead from complications of the virus. He was 61.

Diffie, an Oklahoma native moved to Nashville in 1986 where he found work at the Gibson Guitar Company and as a demo singer. He released his first single, “Home,” in 1990, which also became his first #1 hit on the country charts.

Other chart-topping singles include “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “Pickup Man,” and “Bigger Than the Beatles.” Diffie joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1993 and appeared there in 2019 for the induction of Luke Combs, who cited him an inspiration.

Joe Diffie performing at Thirsty Cowboy in Medina on November 23, 2019.
Photos by Charlie Kriak/CCM

Besides being one of the new traditionalists of his era, Diffie also scored with his more lighthearted songs like “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (When I Die)” from 1993, and “John Deere Green,” from 1994. Between 1990 and 2000 he charted 16 Top 10 hits on Epic Records. In 2002 he returned to the charts with a new record label, Monument Records, and scored another Top Ten with “In Another World.”

Diffie also worked as a songwriter most notably on Jo Dee Messina’s #1 hit, “My Give a Damn’s Busted” in 2005.

While signed to Epic Records, his platinum albums include 1993’s Honky Tonk Attitude and 1994’s Third Rock from the Sun. He also reached gold with 1992’s Regular Joe and 1995’s Life’s So Funny. Other albums include: A Thousand Winding Roads (1990), Mr. Christmas (1995), Twice Upon a Time (1997), Greatest Hits (1998), and A Night to Remember (1999).

Diffie won a CMA Award for “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair,” the 1993 collaboration with George Jones. He received a 1998 Grammy for his participation in the all-star single, “Same Old Train,” and released a bluegrass album in 2010. Aldean paid tribute to Diffie by name in his clever 2012 single, “1994.”

He last performed in Northeast Ohio in November of 2019 at Thirsty Cowboy in Medina and was on the roster of artists performing at this year’s Neon Nights at Clay’s Park Resort on August 1.

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