In 1989, a critically-acclaimed newcomer to the country music fold, Sammy Sadler, had already charted several successful singles and was ready to release his first album on Evergreen Records when he was caught up in the assassination of then Cash Box chart-manager, Kevin Hughes, and a payola scandal that would bring down the magazine and rock the music industry.
Despite suffering a near-fatal gunshot wound that would require multiple surgeries to repair, Sadler remained under suspicion until the murder was solved 13 long years later--by then, his career was dead, as well.
In March 9, 2004, Sadler attempted to reboot his career, releasing Hard on the Heart on the Tri label. The title track placed in the top-10 on the Texas Music Chart and went No. 1 in Europe for seven weeks, but produced lackluster results in the states. In 2009, Sadler released another album, Heart Shaped Like Texas on Audium Records, which transitioned to Koch Records and eventually sold to E1 Music. Despite rave reviews for singles "I'll Always Have Denver," and "No Place to Land," E1 Music ultimately closed and Sadler's recording career ended.
Since that time, Sammy continued to play to fans with two successful tours--one with Doug Stone in 2012, and the other lasting from 2015-2016 with Ken Mellons and Jeff Carson called the "Taking the Country Back Tour."
Record promoter Chuck Dixon, who was suspected of ordering the hit against Hughes, was reported to have died mysteriously in 2013, and triggerman Richard D'Antonio would die in prison in 2014. The passing of both provided a newly found confidence to Sadler, who had spent years looking over his shoulder as a result of PTSD.
Sadler plans to release a book recounting the famous murder and is currently in the studio working on a new album--both will be released in 2019. Sammy's story is far from over.