Charlie Daniels had some great advice on marriage. He told the Oklahoman in 2014, ‘If you can’t find somebody you’d like to spend the rest of your life with, don’t tie the knot, because that’s not gonna make ya happy.”
And Charlie Daniels was happy in his marriage; “I’ve been blessed with finding the girl of my dreams,” he said, “and here I am 50 years after, without a regret in the world about marryin’ my darlin’ from Tulsa.”
That “darlin’ from Tulsa” is Hazel Juanita Alexander Daniels; they were married 56 years before Daniels died in July 2020.
According to Daniels, they met at the Fondalite Club in Tulsa. When they married in 1964, “we, Hazel’s parents, my other three band members and a couple of friends walked up a flight of steps to a Justice of the Peace’s office in Tulsa and tied the knot,” as Daniels recalled in a 2016 post on his website.
In that same post, Daniels had advice for people who asked him how he stayed married so long; “Marry somebody you want to wake up with the rest of your life, somebody you truly want to share your life with,” he wrote.
Was everything smooth sailing for Charlie and Hazel over the years? Not quite, wrote Daniels, but “the difference is that we always faced everything together, whether it was repossessed cars, mountainous debt, too many bills and not enough money or whatever else came at us.”
“She has always been my tether to reality, my safe harbor in a storm, my rock and above all my best friend,” Daniels wrote in his heartwarming post. It’s enough to make you really believe in true love.
Charlie Daniels Day
Charlie Daniels’ fame grew to great heights, making a huge leap from playing at the Fondalite Club. Those early days not only found him success in love, but in music as well. 6 years after marrying Hazel, he released his first self-titled album. He didn’t get a huge hit until landing at number 7 on the country charts with 1976’s Saddle Tramp; he then charted number 1 with 1979’s Million Mile Reflections. Most of his contributions to country music are credited under the Charlie Daniels Band.
From 1974 to 1996, the Charlie Daniels Band played 16 Volunteer Jams in Tennessee; Jam Tours from 1999 to 2014; celebrated the 40th Jam in 2015; and Daniels’ 80th birthday in 2016. It’s a tradition that still lasts after Daniels’ death.
Ahead of the 2021 Volunteer Jam, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared Aug. 18 “Charlie Daniels Day” in celebration of Daniels’ achievements and contributions to country music.
Lee lauded the Volunteer Jam as a great Tennessee tradition, saying he was “proud this celebration will carry on his [Daniels’] legacy and showcase Tennessee’s rich musical heritage.”
The Volunteer Jam has become as much a tribute to Charlie Daniels as it is a tribute to Tennessee. After he passed, the Volunteer Jam continued on Sept. 15, 2020, honoring his life and vast musical talent.