I read a Newsweek.com article by Steve Tuttle titled “Murder On Music Row” the other day. It’s describing the certain, long and painful murder that has been occuring in country music for years. The murder that can be summed up as a transition from George Jones-country to Taylor Swift-country. Larry Cordle and Larry Shell wrote a song about it. George Strait and Alan Jackson, together, made it famous.
The first verse of the song “Murder On Music Row” goes like this:
“Nobody saw them running / From 16th Ave.
They never found the fingerprints / Or the weapon that was used
But someone killed country music / Cut out its heart and soul
They got away with murder / Down on Music Row
What you may not realize is that there actually was a music industry-related murder on 16th Ave. on March 9, 1989.
The story goes that Cashbox (a former music news/chart magazine that apparently still exists online) employee Kevin Hughes was heading to his car that night, and was gunned down in the street by Richard D’Antonio, who is serving a life sentence at a Tennessee prison.
The murder took place in 1989. D’Antonio was convicted in 2003; over 14 years later.
A Richard D’Antonio Defense Project exists, and you can learn more about it here.
According to the website, D’Antonio was convicted, despite: no evidence linking him to the murder in any way, tampered and fabricated “facts” and “evidence,” no witness descriptions of the murderer matching him and a prosecutor who stated in court that he wasn’t sure D’Antonio was guilty.
The connection between D’Antonio and Hughes was that they had worked together at Cashbox. A lot of typical music industry malpractice swirls around this story, and it is ultimately believed that Hughes was taken care of because he was trying to bring some integrity to the organization.