Floyd Cramer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Floyd Cramer
Floyd Cramer (1965).jpg
Floyd Cramer (1965)
Background information
Birth name Floyd Cramer
Born October 27, 1933
Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Origin Huttig, Arkansas, United States
Died December 31, 1997(1997-12-31) (aged 64)
Occupations Pianist
Instruments Piano, organ, harpsichord
Associated acts Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline

Floyd Cramer (October 27, 1933 – December 31, 1997) was an American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the "Nashville sound". He was known for his "slip note" piano style, where an out-of-key note slides into the correct note.

Biography[edit]

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Cramer grew up in the small town of Huttig, Arkansas, teaching himself to play the piano. After finishing high school, he returned to Shreveport, where he worked as a pianist for the Louisiana Hayride radio show.

In 1953, he cut his first single, "Dancin' Diane", backed with "Little Brown Jug", for the local Abbott label. During 1955 he played dates with an emerging talent who would later figure significantly in his career, Elvis Presley.[1][2]

Cramer moved to Nashville in 1955 where the use of piano accompanists in country music was growing in popularity. By the next year he was, in his words, "in day and night doing sessions.”[3] Before long, he was one of the busiest studio musicians in the industry, playing piano for stars such as Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, the Browns, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, and the Everly Brothers, among others.[4] It was Cramer's piano playing, for instance, on Presley's first national hit, "Heartbreak Hotel". However, Cramer remained strictly a session player, a virtual unknown to anyone outside the music industry.

Cramer had released records under his own name since the early 1950s, and became well known following the release of "Last Date", a 45 rpm single, in 1960.[5] The instrumental piece exhibited a relatively new concept for piano playing known as the "slip note" style. The record went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The song was kept out of the No. 1 position by Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight".[6]

In 1961, Cramer had a hit with "On the Rebound," which went to No. 4, and No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.[7] ("On the Rebound" was later featured during the opening credits of the 2009 Oscar-nominated film An Education, which was set in England in 1961). That same year Cramer also had a hit with "San Antonio Rose" (No. 8).

By the mid-1960s, Cramer had become a respected performer, making numerous albums and touring with guitar maestro Chet Atkins and saxophonist Boots Randolph; he also performed with them as a member of the Million Dollar Band.

Over the years, Cramer continued to balance session work with his own albums. Many of these featured standards or popular hits of the era and from 1965 to 1974 he annually recorded a disc of the year's biggest hits prefaced "Class of . . ." Other long-players included I Remember Hank Williams (1962), Floyd Cramer Plays the Monkees (1967), Sounds of Sunday (1971) and Looking For Mr Goodbar (1978). In 1977 Floyd Cramer and the Keyboard Kick Band was released, on which he played eight different keyboard instruments.[1]

Floyd Cramer died of lung cancer in 1997 at the age of 64 and was interred in the Spring Hill Cemetery in the Nashville suburb of Madison, Tennessee.

Legacy[edit]

His grandson, Jason Coleman, inherited his grandfather's skill on the piano, performing with him on television and in concert at a young age. At age 17, he played "Please Help Me, I'm Falling", the first song to feature Cramer's signature slip notes, with Hank Locklin at the Grand Ole Opry, and two years later played piano for the Medallion Ceremony at Cramer’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He carries on his grandfather's legacy with recordings and a touring tribute concert, The Legacy of Floyd Cramer, sharing the piano arrangements and story of Cramer's contributions to American music.

Awards[edit]

In 2003 Floyd Cramer was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008 Cramer was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, offers the Floyd Cramer Competitive Scholarship.

Quotation[edit]

NME - November 1961[8]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US
1957 That Honky Tonk Piano MGM
1960 Hello Blues RCA
1961 Last Date
On the Rebound 70
1962 America's Biggest Selling Pianist
Floyd Cramer Gets Organ-ized 113
I Remember Hank Williams 130
1963 Swing Along with Floyd Cramer
Comin' On
Three Great Pianos (with Peter Nero and Frankie Carle)
1964 Country Piano-City Strings
Cramer at the Console
The Best of Floyd Cramer
1965 Hits from the Country Hall of Fame 10
Class of '65 107
The Magic Touch of Floyd Cramer
1966 The Distinctive Piano Style of Floyd Cramer
Only the Big Ones
Class of '66 123
1967 Night Train
Here's What's Happening! 20 166
Floyd Cramer Plays the Monkees
Class of '67 21
We Wish You a Merry Christmas 26
1968 Floyd Cramer Plays Country Classics 16
Class of '68
Floyd Cramer Plays MacArthur Park 36
The Best of Floyd Cramer Volume 2
1969 Class of '69 31
Floyd Cramer Plays More Country Classics 17
1970 The Big Ones, Vol. 2 183
With the Music City Pops
This Is Floyd Cramer 39
Class of '70 43
1971 Almost Persuaded
Chet Floyd & Boots (with Chet Atkins and Boots Randolph)
Sounds of Sunday 44
Class of '71 34
1972 Detours
Class of '72
Best of the Class of Floyd Cramer
Date with Floyd Cramer
1973 Floyd Cramer Plays the Big Hits
Super Country Hits
Class of '73 34
1974 Young and Restless
Spotlight On
Floyd Cramer in Concert 25
1975 Piano Masterpieces 1900–1975
Class of '74 and '75
1976 Floyd Cramer Country 46
1977 Floyd Cramer & the Keyboard Kick Band 50
Chet Floyd & Danny (with Chet Atkins and Danny Davis) 46
1978 Looking for Mr. Goodbar
1979 Super Hits
1980 Dallas 29 170
1981 Great Country Hits
The Best of the West
1982 20 of the Best
1985 Collector's Date
Country Classics Pair Records
1988 Special Songs of Love Step One Records
Country Gold
Just Me and My Piano
1989 Forever Floyd Cramer
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Originals
1991 Gospel Classics
1994 The Piano Magic of Floyd Cramer Ranwood
1995 Favorite Country Hits 1
1996 The Piano Magic of Floyd Cramer 2
1997 Blue Skies
Favorite Country Hits 2

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US
[9]
US Country US R&B US AC CAN Country
1958 "Flip Flop and Bop" 87 Last Date
1960 "Last Date" 2 11 3
1961 "On the Rebound" 4 16 On the Rebound
"San Antonio Rose" 8 8 3
"Your Last Goodbye" 63 America's Biggest Selling Pianist
"Hang On" 95
1962 "Chattanooga Choo Choo" 36 (single only)
"Let's Go" 90 Floyd Cramer Gets Organ-ized
"Lovesick Blues" 87 I Remember Hank Williams
"Hot Pepper" 63 (singles only)
"Swing Low" 110
"Losers Weepers" 127
1963 "Java" 49 Swing Along with Floyd Cramer
"(These Are) The Young Years" 129 Comin' On
"How High the Moon" 121 (single only)
"Heartless Heart" 124 Country Piano-City Strings
1967 "Stood Up" 53 (single only)
1977 "Rhythm of the Rain" 67 Floyd Cramer & the Keyboard Kick Band
1980 "Dallas" 104 32 8 Dallas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wadey P, 5 January 1998, Obituary: Floyd Cramer, Independent Monthly (UK), Independent News and Media Limited
  2. ^ April 01 Friday, 02 Saturday; August 14 Sunday; September 05 Monday beginning of a five day tour; source - http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/promos/elvisdaybyday/1955.html retrieved 2.2014
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Chet Atkins interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  5. ^ "Last Date" is also featured as the closing theme for Ray Hadley's radio show on Sydney's radio station 2GB.
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 123. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  7. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 57. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  8. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 100. CN 5585. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 207. ISBN 0-89820-188-8. 
  • Escott, Colin (1998). "Floyd Cramer". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 117–8.

External links[edit]