He was born Robert Joseph Bare in Ironton, Ohio.
He was signed up by Capitol Records in the 1950s after failing several times beforehand. He then got drafted into the Army and before he went he did a demo for his friend, Bill Parson to learn and record. Fraternity Records released Bobby Bare’s original version by accident and credited it to Bill Parson, and it hit No. 2 on the Top 100.
Chet Atkins signed him to the RCA label and his first single for him sold nearly a million copies and his second, “Detroit City” won him a Grammy for the best song of the year.
He has recorded albums with Skeeter Davis and Lacy J. Dalton and later produced his own records at RCA before moving to CBS. He sang with Roseanne Cash’s which was helpful in her early career.
He recorded “Singing in The Kitchen” with his family and it was nominated for a best group category Grammy, but Bobby declined it as his 15-year-old daughter had recently died.
His band was called Pulleybone and he was room mates with Willie Nelson in the 1960s. He did a western with Troy Donahue called A Distant Trumpet, appeared in a few episodes of the TV series No Time for Sergeants, and had a TV series of his own called Bobby Bare & Friends, A Song Writer Showcase.
In 1998 he formed the band Old Dogs with Jerry Reed , Mel Tillis and Waylon Jennings. He is also credited as introducing Waylon Jennings to RCA.
In 2005 his album The Moon Was Blue was recorded after over 20 years was produced by his son, Bobby Bare Jr. Several years later in 2012 his Darker Than Light was released and in 2013 he became an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
His daughter is the singer Cari Bare and his son ,Shannon Atkins Bare, was named after Chet Atkins .
While touring with Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, Dolly wrote, within two hours, the song “Jeannie Is Afraid of the Dark” about his wife, Jeannie Bare. Bill Clinton has cited his song “Dropkick Me Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)” as being one of his favourite songs. Billy Graham called him the “Springsteen of Country Music”.