Hazel Daniels is the wife of Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels. The “Devil Went Down to Georgia” singer died at age 83 in a Hermitage, Tennessee, hospital after suffering a stroke, the Associated Press reported. He is survived by Hazel and their son Charlie Daniels Jr.
The beloved singer was inducted Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. He was nominated for six Grammy awards and won Best Country Vocal Performance for “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Starting his career in the ’50s, he appeared on three of Bob Dylan’s albums and played with Leonard Cohen Ringo Starr, The Tennessean wrote.
Daniels and his wife, Hazel, were married for more than 50 years.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hazel and Daniels Met While He was Performing
To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Daniels sat down for an interview with NewsOK, where he recalled meeting Hazel for the first time. He was performing in Tulsa and Hazel caught his eye from across the room.
“She came with a girlfriend of hers one night. And I said, ‘Hey I like that curvy little blonde over there. Hey how are you doin’?” he recalled, as noted by Country Rebel.
It wasn’t long before the couple fell in love and got married, but they had to fit their nuptials into Daniels’ hectic touring schedule. “I had one night off. I had Sunday off, so we got married on a Sunday morning. I had to go back to work Monday night, so we didn’t have a honeymoon,” the country rocker recalled. They were married by the justice of the peace in Oklahoma in 1964, Rare Country wrote.
When their son grew up, Hazel started going on tour with her husband and since then they have had plenty of vacations. “In the last 50 years, we had a whole bunch of honeymoons,” the fiddler said. “We don’t necessarily take them on our anniversary, but we’ve seen a good bit of the world together.”
2. Daniels Didn’t Have Any Regrets About Marrying Hazel shared by The Charlie Daniels Band
When NewsOK asked about his secret to a marriage that lasted more than 50 years, Daniels said people should not settle. Hazel was always the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
“It’s just finding somebody you truly love that you want to spend the rest of your life with,” he said, according to Country Rebel. “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.”
Hazel was the love of his life. “I’ve been blessed with finding the girl of my dreams, and here I am 50 years after without a regret in the world about marryin’ my darlin’ from Tulsa.”
3. Hazel Said It Was An Honor To Be Married to Daniels
Daniels’ affection for his wife was not one-sided. She walked the red carpet with the famous fiddler when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Hazel gushed over Daniels. “It’s an honor for me just to be married to him. He’s been a great husband, and he’s worked so hard to get here. He’s had a long road,” she told Rebel Country at the time. Reporter Hunter Kelly noted it was a big moment for Hazel to since she had been touring with Daniels for decades.
Daniels was also thrilled to be inducted, saying he had known about the ceremony for some time but it got real once he was at the event.
4. Daniels Said He and Hazel Have Had Their Differences
While Daniels undoubtedly considered Hazel his match, that didn’t mean things were always easy. In September 2016, he wrote a blog post for CNS News in honor of his 52nd wedding anniversary.
“Sometimes when people look at our lifestyle as it is today, they tend to think that life has been nothing but a long smooth ride for us, that our marriage has not had storms to weather or difficulties to overcome,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. 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 stood behind me in every career decision, every move to another town, and we’ve shared every disappointment, every triumph, every defeat and every victory. She has always been my tether to reality, my safe harbor in a storm, my rock and above all my best friend,” Daniels wrote about Hazel. “I have no illusions as to whether or not I would have accomplished what I have without her, it simply would not have happened.”
5. Hazel and Daniels Loved Spending Time Together
The couple enjoyed a quasi dual life, one where they would live a “normal” life–attend church, eat home-cooked meals–and another where they were on the road and touring.
“Now we have two different lifestyles, a home life where we live a pretty normal way, able to attend church, have our meals at home and do family things. Then there’s the road life, where we sleep moving down some highway, wake up in a different motel parking lot every morning,” wrote for CNS News. “We try to maintain an exercise regimen, where everything is geared toward the night’s concert. Things can get a little hectic from time to time.”
“At home or on the road, it makes no difference,” Daniels concluded. “We’re together, and that’s what counts.”