Singer Henson Cargill, whose 1968 hit “Skip a Rope” topped the country charts with its understated take on social problems, has died. He was 66.
Cargill died Saturday following complications from surgery, Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond confirmed.
“Skip a Rope” made it to No. 1 on the Billboard country chart and was a top 25 crossover success in the pop music chart.
A New York Times review in 1968 called the song “a little morality lesson within the context of a child’s skip-rope rhyme” and said Cargill “has one of those deliciously smooth country baritones like Johnny Cash’s or Dave Dudley’s.”
The verses refer to marital discord, tax cheating and racial prejudice, with the refrain: “Skip a rope, skip a rope. Oh, listen to the children while they play. Ain’t it kind of funny what the children say, skip a rope.”
Written by Jack Moran and Glen Douglas Tubb, “Skip a Rope” was nominated for 1968 song of the year by the Country Music Association awards, according to the CMA Web site.
Among Cargill’s other country hits were “None of My Business” and “The Most Uncomplicated Goodbye I’ve Ever Heard.” A collection of his songs was released on CD in 2005 as “A Very Well Travelled Man.”
More recently, Cargill owned and operated a west Oklahoma City country music showplace in the 1980s called Henson’s. It featured such performers as Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Roy Orbison, Glenn Campbell, Waylon Jennings and Cargill’s friend and mentor, Johnny Cash.
Cargill came from a prominent Oklahoma City family; his grandfather, O.A. Cargill, was mayor. He attended Colorado State University, where he began performing at local events.
He returned to Oklahoma City, where he worked for the court clerk’s and sheriff’s offices before joining a musical group called the Kimberleys and eventually forming one on his own.
He is survived by two sons, a daughter, four sisters and a brother.