Andy Griffith: A life in music

Actor Andy Griffith reads poem after North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue was sworn into office during North Carolina inaugural ceremonies Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009 at the State Library building in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds) JIM BOUNDS

Actor Andy Griffith as North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue is sworn into office on Jan. 10, 2009, at the State Library building in Raleigh, N.C.
JIM BOUNDS
(CBS News) Andy Griffith was probably best known as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the "The Andy Griffith Show," but the actor, who died Tuesday, got his start in music. It became a thread throughout his more than half-century career.

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As a child, Griffith sang and played slide trombone in the band at Grace Moravian Church in Mount Airy, N.C. He graduated with a music degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before landing a job teaching high school music.

Griffith flexed his music skills in 1958 in Broadway's "Destry Rides Again," earning him a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical. He also sang in the 1957 film, "A Face in the Crowd," in which he portrayed a jailbird and amateur vocalist.

In the long-running CBS series, "The Andy Griffith Show," Griffith could be heard singing in several episodes.

"Music was always important to our show," Griffith said in a 1998 interview in conjunction with The Television Academy Foundation. "Don [Knotts] and I sang a lot together, you know ... We would sing hymns in the jail while we were dusting, sweeping and different things."

Through the years, Griffith put out albums featuring country and gospel music. He recorded a version of "The Andy Griffith Show" theme song with the original lyrics under the title "The Fishin' Hole." It's to the tune of the series' catchy whistle-only opening, which was not performed by Griffith. The song's co-writer, Earle Hagen, whistled the famous TV theme song.

Griffith's love for music continued on "Matlock," too. He could be heard singing on various episodes of the legal drama, which aired from 1986-1995.

In 1996, he released "I Love to Tell the Story - 25 Timeless Hymns," an album of gospel songs, which won a Grammy in the category of best Southern gospel, country gospel or bluegrass gospel album.

More musical honors followed. In 1999, Griffith was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and in 2007, he entered the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

And only four years ago, the North Carolina native teamed with country singer Brad Paisley on the video for Paisley's single "Waitin' on a Woman." It went on to win the Country Music Association award for video of the year. Watch it below:


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