In 1989, chart director for Cash Box magazine, Kevin Hughes, was shot and killed in cold blood. Rising country music artist Sammy Sadler was also hit but survived.

Now, 30 years later, Sammy is telling the story of how in a few seconds his dreams ended and a 13-year homicide investigation was launched.

Hit with a Bullet is part mystery-thriller, part autobiography, detailing the corruption, chart-rigging, and payola that would rock the music industry for many years to come.


“You’ve seen the movies that declare they’re “based on a true story.” And the television shows that are “ripped from the headlines.” This is one of those stories. It is a true story of bribery, betrayal, murder, survival and of justice taking a ride on a slow train—a story written in the blood of a rising country music star and in the blood of his friend.”

–Larry Holden, former Editor of Country Weekly
Read the Foreword in its entirety by clicking HERE


A shot rings out along Music Row in Nashville. Sammy Sadler, a rising country star at 21 years-old, feels hot blood flow out of the bullet wound in his shoulder. Adrenaline pulsed through him as a pleasant evening with friend and colleague, Kevin Hughes, took a deadly turn. Another shot cries out as a masked figure emerges from the shadows. Sadler is disoriented. The driver of their car makes a mad dash up the road as more bullets pierce the air.

The gunman turns his attention to one man.

Kevin Hughes, Chart Director for Cash Box magazine, was shot dead on March 9th, 1989 in the middle of 16th Avenue. The murderer disappears in the shadows, seemingly getting away with the crime.

Known as the Murder on Music Row played out like a movie scene, but it was a living nightmare for Sadler. The rumor mill churned ruthlessly about his “possible involvement” in the unsolved crime. His career and his marriage crumbled. He struggled to recover from lasting P.T.S.D. and an injury compromising the use of his hand.

The mystery of that fatal night did not fade. It gained attention on national outlets such as “Unsolved Mysteries,” “America’s Most Wanted,” “Nancy Grace,” and more.

It wasn’t until 2003 that former Chart Director for Cash Box magazine, Richard D’Antionio was convicted of the murder. The closure of the conviction seems to have marked a new chapter for Sammy Sadler.

The following year, he released his first album since the murder on music row, HARD ON A HEART. Building on this momentum, Sadler has gone on multiple tours, recorded several new albums, and is taking back all that was robbed of him that one night in 1989.

Today, he has one message…his story is far from over.


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