Born Ivan Leroy Wiggins in Nashville, Little Roy idolized Burt Hutcherson and was playing steel guitar at the Grand
Ole Opry by the time he was thirteen, with Paul
Howard's Arkansas Cotton Pickers. Eddy Arnold, arguably country music's
#1 guy in the late '40s, hired him to be his steel man. It was a collaboration that would
last twenty-five years. He also
got a chance to record three instrumental albums with Starday,
including an album of his beloved Hawaiian Music, The Fabulous Steel Guitar Artistry Of Little Roy Wiggins. He took that artistry with him
overseas for a tour of the U.K.
club circuit in 1978. Seven
years later, he was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri. Although he suffered from diabetes
and heart disease, he continued to play steel guitar conventions until his
death in 1999. A Morrell
8-String Lap Steel bears his name.
Roberts and Little Roy Wiggins recordings
(Eddie Miller/W.S. Stevenson/Dub Williams/Robert Yount)
Little Roy Wiggins