NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Saturday marks 30 years since someone opened fire on a singer and music researcher on Music Row. Prosecutors say a man killed Kevin Hughes in 1989 to keep him from exposing a dirty business practice in the music industry.
Sammy Sadler remembers everything from that day. He remembers talking on the phone with his parents at Evergreen Records and putting his friend Kevin on to say hello. He remembers leaving the place and walking to Kevin's car. Then, he remembers a gunman shooting him and killing his friend.
Music Row is where Sammy Sadler came to live out his dream.
“I didn't come to Nashville to be known as the guy who survived the murder on Music Row, I came to Nashville to have a singing career and to be in country music and I've never let this stop me,” Sadler said.
He's talking about March 9th, 1989. It’s a night that changed his life forever.
“I can close my eyes every day and walk those steps every day, and I just look at my arm and it takes me back to that night and it's hard sometimes,” a choked up Sadler said.
He and his friend, Kevin Hughes, never made it home from Evergreen Records. Instead, a man with a gun opened fire on them.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, this guy’s got a gun,’ and he shot and I threw my arms up and he shot and the bullet hit my arm and I fell over into Kevin's car,” Sadler remembers. “He started running up the street and the guy went after him and shot him and killed him.”
13 years later, a jury convicted former record promoter Richard D'Antonio for the murder. Prosecutors say it was all an attempt to stop Hughes from revealing a shady business practice where promoters and artists would pay for high positions on music charts.
“He died for doing the right thing and being an honest person and it's a shame,” Sadler said.
Now, 30 years later, Sadler honors Hughes with his work, but still, he thinks his friend deserves so much more.
“Kevin lost his life and I was shot and left for dead and I can't understand why nobody has honored him and recognized him, cause to me, he's a fallen hero on Music Row,” Sadler said.
Sadler continues to make music. You can find a link to his latest work here.