Charlie Daniels’ right-hand man of 47 years shares heartache, future plans


MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hundreds came to say goodbye to Charlie Daniels at Thursday’s public visitation at Sellars Funeral Home in Mt. Juliet.

Daniels looked at peace, surrounded by some of his most cherished items; a guitar, a fiddle, his cowboy hat, and with his Country Music Hall of Fame medallion draped around his neck. There by his side was his longtime manager David Corlew who has been working with Charlie since 1973. 

“(I was) 23 years old, and 47 years later, I’m 70 years old, so I guess I’d call it my final mission and that’s to bury my friend,” Corlew told News 2.

It’s a trying task, fighting tears and heartache. Corlew and Daniels were much more than friends.  

“He was a brother, he was a father, he was a mentor, he was a friend, he kept me in line, he was a counselor, he was everything.”

Corlew said he knows he wasn’t alone, Charlie Daniels touched the lives of many.

“Everybody has a deep relationship with him and that’s what Charlie provides was that he offered himself. He was a good and wonderful servant to not only the Lord but to the public,” he said. 

Charlie Daniels was a man who always put himself last, and leaves behind a mark unlike any other. 

“I think Charlie’s legacy obviously is faith first. That was the most important thing. The legacy of being a wonderful husband and father and then the legacy of him being a great supporter of the men and women that serve this country,” said Corlew adding his legacy as an entertainer. 

Even in his 80s, Charlie Daniels was a road warrior. He performed around 100 shows a year with electrifying energy that inspired fans and musicians alike.

“One of the things that stood out most was the energy that he brought to the stage and to his fans and he might have been 83, but he acted like an 18-year-old and that was the most important thing for him.” 

Now his work is done. He left suddenly Monday morning, but not without loved ones saying goodbye first.

“He could hear but he couldn’t respond, and so again another gift from God that we got. Everybody got to share a lot of feelings with him and I believe with all my heart he heard every one of them. Anything that we missed, he’s hearing now. There is no doubt in my mind that he is resting easy in the arms of Jesus Christ.”

Corlew said they still have a lot of work to do. They will be releasing Daniel’s first novel which he just completed, as well as new music and Corlew is going to keep the foundation, “The Journey Home Project” which Daniels and Corlew founded together. 

There will be a public memorial Friday for Daniels at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro at 11 a.m.

News 2 will carry the memorial service live on-air and online at

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