Ernie Ashworth

Dublin Core


Ernie Ashworth


Huntsville, Madison County, Country music, Grand Ole Opry, Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Radio, Redstone Arsenal


Ernie Ashworth (December 15, 1928 - March 2, 2009)

Even though he had written songs for some of country music’s biggest stars, and that he himself had scored two top 10 hits, it wasn’t until after he had scored his one and only number-one single that Ernie Ashworth finally left his job working in the guided missile program at Redstone Arsenal in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. His life before, and after, was just as varied as his day and night jobs in 1963. Born December 15, 1928, Ernest Bert Ashworth began his career in music singing and playing guitar on local radio station WBHP-AM, from 1948 to 1949, when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to continue his career in radio. It was there that he was signed by Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose Music as a songwriter, writing songs recorded by such artists as Jimmy Dickens, Johnny Horton, and Carl Smith. However, after not making his mark as a singer, Ernie left Nashville in 1957 and returned to Huntsville, where he landed a job working at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal. It wasn’t until 1960 that Wesley Rose, who hadn’t given up on Ernie, arranged a recording contract for Ernie with Decca Records. Scoring three top-20 hits in two years, Ernie moved on to Hickory Records, a subsidiary owned by Acuff-Rose Music, which is where he found his greatest success as a performer. After a Top Five hit with “Everybody But Me” and a Top Ten hit with, “I Take The Chance” in 1962, Ernie found his success in 1963 with “Talk Back Trembling Lips,” his lone number-one song, which stayed on the country charts for 42 weeks. This success led to Ernie being invited to join the Grand Ole Opry as a member in 1964. While he continued to score more records that charted, none came close to the success of his signature song, although he continued to tour and perform on the Opry stage. It was then that Ernie’s career came full circle, as he once again found himself in the radio business, this time as an owner, with stations in Flomaton, Alabama, Ardmore, Tennessee, and Gallatin, Tennessee. In 1999, Ernie, who was always a popular figure overseas, scored a number-one hit on the UK Independent Chart with “Lonely Only Bar.” Ernie was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Ernie Ashworth died on March 2, 2009, in Hartsville, Tennessee following heart surgery, leaving behind a life in music few can match.

Watch and Listen:
"Talk Back Trembling Lips"
"Ernie Ashworth Talks 'Talk Back Trembling Lips'"
"The D.J. Cried"
"Everybody But Me"


John Griffin, University of North Alabama


Ernie Ashworth official website Accessed November 1, 2016
Ernie Ashworth: Alabama Music Hall of Fame Accessed November 1, 2016

All images courtesy of Mr. George Lair and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, unless otherwise noted.


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey




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