Launching Austin City Limits

Rock Killough came to visit me one day at the Grove Oak Store. We just hit it off. I have an 8 foot homemade catapult in front of the store and took Rock out to launch some things in my hand-built contraption. I made it a few years ago for Physics class, but also because its awesome to have your own catapult. Anyway, Rock launched it. He loved it. Don’t let him tell you anything any different. My buddy Rock Killough, Hank Cochran, and the red-headed stranger were a part of launching something else… something bigger… Austin City Limits. (Songwriters Special)

“I was proud to be there. I was at the right place at the right time.” Rock said as humble as pie about his first appearance on the precedent-setting first episode of Austin City Limits.

Rock Killough, an Alabama song-writing legend, recalls his time as Hank Cochran’s band leader who was opening for Willie Nelson at the time. Willie was busy filming on the set of “Honeysuckle Rose” and took the trip to Austin to perform on ACL. Rock went too.

Rock tells the story as a seasoned professional, with decades of experience speaking through him and a boyish playfulness he just never lost. You’d almost expect a 74 year old to have a dulled excitement about life, but not Rock. He’s as sharp as a tack.

When he, Willie, Hank, and the guys were hanging out playing music and just having a good time in Austin they were asked to be a part of Austin City Limits with Willie Nelson. They agreed. Rock said he knew the show would be a big deal: it was and still is. ACL is on season 41, I think, and still going strong as a music staple.

That’s Willie Nelson and Floyd Tillman in front. From the left is Red Lane, Don Gant, Hank Cochran, Rock Killough, Sonny Throckmorton, and Whitey Shafer.


Rock Killough moved to Nashville in 1976 as a made songwriter. He talks about his future plans of returning to the city. I know whatever he has up his mischievous sleeve is going to work out and I’ll be cheering him on.

Check his songs out Rock Killough

Jamie Godwin




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