A native of California, Cliffie Stone was born Clifford Gilpin Snyder in Burbank on March 1, 1917. The son of entertainer, comedy star, and banjo picker Herman the Hermit, Stone was known for his struggle to bring California's country & western music into favor in post-World War II America. He began playing bass in big bands with Freddie Slack and Anson Weeks as well as with other bands around Hollywood and Pasadena, but it was his work on radio stations KFUD and KFWB that brought him respect. Shows such as Covered Wagon Jubilee and Lucky Stars, broadcast out of Los Angeles, allowed him to show off his numerous skills. Working as a DJ, comedian, performer, and host, Stone won fame doing 28 radio shows a week between 1943 and 1947. As a featured performer on the Hollywood Barn Dance, he made a place for himself in country music history. In 1946 he accepted a position with Capitol Records, who were gearing up for the still as yet undefined Bakersfield movement. An A&R executive with Capitol for 20 years, Stone discovered Tennessee Ernie Ford, whom he managed from 1947 to 1957, Molly Bee, Hank Thompson, and others who were flocking to L.A. to record.
In spite of his success at Capitol, Stone was best remembered for his radio work. His show on Pasadena radio station KXLA, Dinner Bell Roundup, was a daily variety presentation that brought large numbers of country & western entertainers into the homes of his listeners. In 1944 the show picked up and moved to El Monte. The new location brought with it a new name, Hometown Jamboree. Recording six albums of his own he earned co-writing credits on hits "Divorce Me C.O.D.," "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed," and in 1947, "Silver Stars, Purple Sage, Eyes of Blue." He recorded with various versions of his own band, including Cliffie Stone & His Orchestra, Cliffie Stone & His Barn Dance Band, as well as Cliffie Stone's Country Hombres.
Concentrating on the business side of things, the 1960s saw Stone's publishing company, Central Songs, flourish. He even headed up a label, Granite, for a time. The father of Curtis Stone, one of the founding members of Highway 101, Stone wrote several books, including Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Songwriting but Didn't Know Who to Ask, published in 1991. He died of a heart attack on January 17, 1998. ~ Jana Pendragon