Although there have always been performers who defied the odds and became overnight successes, most have had to spend years working their way up the ladder of fame. Still, not many have had the perseverance of Freddie Hart, who didn’t really hit it big until he was in his mid-forties and “Easy Loving” topped the 1971 country charts.
Born as one of fifteen kids in an Alabama sharecropper’s family, young Frederick Segrest grew up during the Great Depression, surrounded by poverty but also immersed in the music of rural America. He picked up his first guitar when he was just five, and as he grew up he always had music in his life — even during experiences that included his underage service as a Marine in World War II combat.
During his time in the Marines he had become an expert in judo and jujitsu, and in the post-war years he used that knowledge to teach at the Los Angeles Police Academy. Other jobs came along too, but eventually he was again drawn to music and began to seriously pursue a career, performing as Freddie Hart. It wasn’t long before he began to make a few records, but he initially found more success as a songwriter since the songs he’d written became bigger hits when better-known artists recorded them.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Hart continued to make records and perform whenever possible, often appearing alongside well-known stars like Lefty Frizzell, Tex Ritter, and others, but big success continued to elude him. Things finally began to break his way in the early 1970s when his “Easy Loving” began to climb the country charts. It eventually hit the top and was later voted the CMA Song of the Year, firmly establishing Freddie Hart as a star. It would be the beginning of an long list of hits for the singer, including chart-toppers on “My Hang-Up Is You,” “Bless Your Heart,” “Got The All Overs For You,” “Super Kind Of Woman,” and “Trip To Heaven.”
Hart has continued to enjoy a long career for many years, and even now — well into his eighties — he still entertains his fans whenever possible.