OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Byron Berline, a renowned fiddler who played with superstars like Elton John, the Rolling Stones and owned a popular Oklahoma instrument shop, has died. He was 77.
Bette Berline, Byron’s wife, confirmed his death to The Associated Press. She said he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke and that on Saturday his “lungs gave up and so did his heart.”
Bette recalled her husband as a fun and loving father and husband, who until soon before his death looked and acted like a man 20 years younger.
“He was more than a musician, an incredibly gifted musician,” she said. “He was a good, good man.”
A three-time National Fiddle Champion, Berline grew up in Grant County along the Oklahoma-Kansas state line and worked with music greats like John, Vince Gill and Bob Dylan. The Stones recruited Berline for “Country Honk,” a country version of “Honky Tonk Women,” based on Gram Parsons’ recommendation.
Berline moved to Guthrie in 1995 and opened the Double Stop Fiddle Shop & Music Hall, which was destroyed by a fire in 2019. He later opened a new shop across the street.
Berline was also survived by his daughter and four grandchildren, Bette Berline said.