Buzz Knight [00:00:00] I’m Buzz Knight, the host of Taking a Walk Music History on Foot. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the Podcast Playground, or wherever you get your podcasts. Today, we have quite a story to tell. From Sammy Sadler, country singer songwriter. He was involved in a murder on Music Row on March 9th, 1989, which changed his life forever. He’s got a new song out called Everything’s Going to Be All Right. And we’ll talk to Sammy Sadler coming up next. I’m taking a walk.
Sammy Sadler [00:00:38] Hey, Buzz. How are.
Buzz Knight [00:00:39] You, Sammy? I’m great. How were you doing today.
Sammy Sadler [00:00:42] Man? I’m doing well, thank you.
Buzz Knight [00:00:44] Where are you? In which part of the country?
Sammy Sadler [00:00:47] Right now I’m in Texas. I am in Texas.
Buzz Knight [00:00:51] Well, I’m in my back yard outside of the Boston area and certainly wish we were taking a walk in person. But it’s nice to have you on. And I so appreciate the time.
Sammy Sadler [00:01:03] And I appreciate you having me on. Thank you.
Buzz Knight [00:01:06] We love stories of resilience on the Takin a Walk podcast, and yours is certainly one. We’re going to talk some history. We’re going to celebrate your brand new song called Everything’s Going to Be All Right. And congratulations on that. But can you take us back, Sammy, to March 9th, 1989, a day that certainly changed your life forever?
Sammy Sadler [00:01:35] Well, yeah. I mean, that day, man. I mean, is this normal day? You know? And I had a record out on the charts. I had the L Word Noble song, Tell it like it is. Was my sixth and fastest rising single. And get ready to go in and and record my full album and just a you know a regular day And then that evening Kevin Hughes and our friends and Kevin was the chart manager for Cashbox magazine and which was a real rivalry to Billboard and that even then I went in and went to my house and met my wife. We kind of had a little argument that it wanted to get out of the house and picked up the phone to call Kevin to see what he was doing and call down to Cashbox and found it rang and rang and rang and I was getting ready to hang up. I thought I heard somebody say hello and brought the phone back up to my ear. That was Kevin. And I said, Hey man, what are you doing? He said, I’m still working on the charts. And I just told him where we’re going. Gonna be there a little while. I’ll run down and see. And so he said, Yeah, come on down. I’ll leave the door open for you. And I drove down and went in and went up. He was in the fresh and young building is where the cash box office was at the time, and I went up to his office and he was on the telephone and so I waited till he got off the phone. And then we just said, Hey, man, you want to go grab somebody? And we went down to West in on the West End there, Nashville, and went to Captain D’s, I believe, and grab somebody. We just stopped by my record company’s office on the way back on the way back to the office and stop me use the telephone to call my family, my parents. And obviously Kevin had never met my folks, so he got on the phone and talked to them, said hello to them, and started to hand the phone back to me and we heard something rattle the door and he went out and looked out for it. And I was back on the phone with my parents. When he walked back in, I said, Man, what was? And he said, I don’t know. He said, I really couldn’t tell. He said, it looked like maybe a black guy walking down the street. He said, But I really couldn’t tell because of the lighting. And so we got off the phone and was going to leave, and we walked out in front of the record companies office, looked around and looked out the doors and looked out the windows. We didn’t see anything. And Kevin’s car was parked across the street on 16th Avenue, which is Music Row. And we went out on the front porch, looked around and see anything. We started walking to Kevin’s car and we were talking, kind of cutting up a little bit. And I walked in front of Kevin’s car and opened the door and sat down and started to reach for the door. And I thought, I’ll call something moving out of the corner of my eye. And I looked up and the guy’s there between me and the car door, and all I see is his arms out and I see a gun. And I said, Oh my God, this guy’s got a gun. I threw my arms up to cover my head. And that’s when he shot. And it hit me in the arm. And they said, Kevin did a barrel roll back out in the street of 16th Avenue and started running up the street. And the guy was went after him and started shooting and missed him, I think, the first time and then hit him in the back and Kevin fell and they said he stood over him, shot him twice in the back of the head and then run off.
Buzz Knight [00:04:47] Wow. Oh, So now I was not ever at Music Row in those years. Was it as busy as it is today around that area?
Sammy Sadler [00:05:01] Well, you know, music grow. I mean, back in the day, I mean, it was you know, obviously I mean, Nashville is Music City, USA, so I mean, yeah, I mean, it was it was busy, you know, And I mean, but, you know, now everything is so changed, now it’s so modernized and it’s become more of a tourist city than than, you know, more than it was even in those days. But, you know, it was busy. But, you know, man, you never I never think and never imagined something like this. You see this kind of stuff on TV, in the movies, you know, it’s not. This can’t happen to you. But when it when it does and you live through it, it’s just a mind blowing experience.
Buzz Knight [00:05:44] So you were in the hospital for a long time with lots of different surgeries after your injuries. Is that correct?
Sammy Sadler [00:05:53] Well, I was in the hospital. I mean, I was I didn’t know how bad it was hurt, but at the time. But they ended up having to operate on my arm and they had to graft a artery and it severed the main artery in my arm. And I was bleeding to death, which I didn’t know what at the time. But thank God that the artery took or they’d had to cut my arm off and then they had to do a wrap my nerves and some synthetic fibers because my arm was so traumatized at the time and so swelled up is about the size of about four basketballs and too much swell. And so they had to go in and wrap my nerves in synthetic fibers, and I was going to have to have a second operation. We didn’t know exactly how long it was going to be, but it ended up being about six months later and that was about a 13 hour operation. And so I had to go through two major operations. And everything that they said happened in 7 seconds, took me two years to get back up on my feet.
Buzz Knight [00:06:59] And you were under suspicion for a long time for what happened. Is that correct?
Sammy Sadler [00:07:06] Well, yeah. I mean, that’s that’s the way the the ball turned and the way things happened. You know, and again, man, I mean, for, you know, here I am taking a bullet and nearly losing my life. And for them to, you know, to treat me that way and to do that to me, I think they’re wrong. I think they you know, I still think and I’ll always say, I think they owe me an apology, what they put me through, what they put my family through. I mean, I may I may understand. You may have to question me and you may have to ask me some things, but then they make me come in and do a lie detector test, and then they take me to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Vanderbilt University. And I get a professor to hypnotize me while they are sitting behind me on a couch. And when we get through with all that, whatever he does and whatever he, you know, went on there, you know, the only thing that I told him any different that I told them from day one after he did what he did to me was the guy had on a heavier jacket. And whenever we got through, got ready to leave, the police officer stood up off the couch and said, Man, was he really hypnotized? And the professor said, Absolutely he was.
Buzz Knight [00:08:21] So for you, music really to this day is a saving grace for you. Is that right?
Sammy Sadler [00:08:28] Well, yeah. I mean, you know, God put the music in me at a young age and, you know, I can’t explain it. Only only singers and entertainers and performers know what somebody is talking about. I mean, it’s. It’s my life. It’s my heart. It’s. It’s what burns inside me to do. And God gave me the gift. And, you know, I’ve had it in me ever since I was a young kid.
Buzz Knight [00:08:52] And you write with this sense of true optimism. Where does the optimism come from? Is it from the Lord?
Sammy Sadler [00:09:01] Well, you know, I look back over my life and Kevin and had only been friends for about seven or eight months when all this happened. But I feel like it’s time went on, would have been lifelong friends. And, you know, Kevin and I didn’t know each other that good, that we were just now becoming friends and getting to know each other. But I didn’t know it at the time. But whenever all this happened and the shooting happened, I didn’t know it. But Kevin was a Christian and I wasn’t a Christian. I hadn’t been saved. And you know, for one to live and one to die, only God knows that. But I’m so thankful that God thought enough for me to save me and to keep me. And I’m a Christian today and have been for many years now. And I just thank God every day that he thought enough for me to keep me and to save me and to give me a second chance.
Buzz Knight [00:09:46] So when you sit down and write something such as your your newest work, how do you draw from the past to write in the present and in the future?
Sammy Sadler [00:10:00] Well, I don’t I don’t write a whole lot, but I mean, I did write the single that I’ve got. I wrote a song in my heart shaped like a Texas album called Thank God. And I wrote that with a few guys and, you know, and it’s just giving thanks to God, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. And there are so many people out here in this world, I don’t know what they’re going through. I don’t know what they might be going through. Man was a bullet. I don’t know what their bullet is, but I do know that whatever you’re going through, I know the answer. And I, Jesus Christ, turn to him and call on him. He’ll be there for you and he’ll bring you through. Anything else you’re going through out here in the flat?
Buzz Knight [00:10:40] Who was part of your support system? Was it the family that really helped you through a difficult year?
Sammy Sadler [00:10:45] My mom and dad were were more my anchors. And, you know, I’m thankful that I had them. They’ve always supported me and supported my music and anything really that I wanted to do. So after the shooting, I come back home to Texas and, you know, tried to try to recuperate and heal. And it took me about two years to get back up on my feet.
Buzz Knight [00:11:10] And your inspiration over the years comes from a variety of folks, folks like George Jones, right. And Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. Anybody else that really inspired you over your career?
Sammy Sadler [00:11:23] Well, you know, in my early years, you know, I was a big Elvis fan. And, you know, I started out that Elvis was was was the deal. And then as I got older, started listening to country music, you know, as George Jones and Merle Haggard and Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash and, you know, just just a bunch of them, you know.
Buzz Knight [00:11:44] What advice would you give to other musicians maybe who have experienced a trauma man?
Sammy Sadler [00:11:52] I mean, somebody is you know, I always thought that I haven’t PTSD was people that went to war and went to, you know, all of that kind of stuff with war, guns and gunshot and everything. But, you know, there’s there’s all kinds of PTSD and people that have been traumatized. It’s not just going to war. I mean, anything that happens to you that is traumatizing to your life, you know, most time you got to have PTSD out of it. And, you know, all I can tell, you know, mine has been it’s been God, man. I mean, God is the only one that’s sustained me through all this and brought me through this. And I can only say for me it’s Jesus Christ. And that’s why I just tell everybody to to turn to him, because, you know, without him, we’re nothing. And he’s the one that gives us breath. And, you know, most people that have been through what I’ve been through, a lot of people would be on drugs or alcohol or, you know, thinking about suicide. And thank God I’ve never experienced any of that. And he’s kept me from that. And I can only say Jesus Christ is is why I’m here. And what brought me through this and this, you know, tell people to turn to God because he’s he’s the actor.
Buzz Knight [00:13:12] I really greatly appreciate you sharing your your story of resilience. I wish you well with the new music. Everything’s going to be all right. And thank you for for sharing your story, Sammy, very much.
Sammy Sadler [00:13:26] Thank you, man. I’m in my new record. Everything’s Going to Be Alright is I feel like it’s a great record and it’s got a good positive message and a good feel to it. And you know, man, just go to all the downloads, digital downloads, you can get that. I’ve got a copy of my book out for sale as well, called A Hit With the Bullet The Real Murder on Music Row. So there’s any musicians or singers, entertainers out there that are thinking about getting in the music business, not just because I wrote this book, but I think if you go and get a copy of that book and read it, it may help you along your journey of what to look for and kind of do as you want to try to get in the music business that may help somebody make some decisions or what they might need to do if they want to get the music business.
Buzz Knight [00:14:15] Sammy Sadler, thank you for being on taking a walk, my friend.
Sammy Sadler [00:14:20] Thank you. But you have a great day. But for you.
Buzz Knight [00:14:23] Taking a walk with Buzz Night is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.