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All The Gold In California and Other People, Places and Things

by Jeff Lenburg Larry Gatlin

From the book: His father's ancestors invented the Gatling gun. There were poets on his mother's side. Out of this marriage of machine guns and poetry came Larry Gatlin, a hard-driving, risk taking perfectionist with an appetite for destruction and a gift for writing songs that touched the heart of America. As lead singer for The Gatlin Brothers, he rode on a wave of success that included chart, Ding singles, sold out concerts, and music awards. "I was a hero," he says, "because hardworking, God-fearing, honest-to-goodness, dyed-in-the-wool country music fans said I was, and I loved it. My problem was, I loved it too much." With his phenomenal success came controversy. He was brash and outspoken, dogged by the press and continually at odds with the music industry. He would disappear for days, bingeing on cocaine and alcohol. In the mid-1980's, the reckless lifestyle finally caught up with him. "I went from hero to zero in a matter of minutes, it seems," he recalls.

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