|Birth name||Milton Slim Newbury, Jr.|
May 19, 1940|
|Died||September 29, 2002(aged 62)|
As a teenager, Newbury sang tenor in a moderately successful vocal group called The Embers. The group opened for several famous performers, such as Sam Cooke and Johnny Cash. Although Newbury tried to make a living from his music by singing in clubs, he put his musical career on hold at age 19 when he joined the Air Force. After four years in the military, Newbury again set his sights on making a living as a songwriter. Before long, he moved to Nashville and signed to the prestigious publishing company Acuff-Rose Music.
Ralph Emery referred to him as the first "hippie-cowboy" and along with Johnny Cash and Roger Miller, he was one of the first to rebel against the conventions of the Nashville music society. After his producer, Felton Jarvis, became the exclusive producer for Elvis Presley, Newbury got himself released from his contract with RCA and signed the first offer he received to comply with his condition that he could either produce his own albums or choose the producer.
He went on to record three albums in Wayne Moss's garage-turned-studio just outside Nashville. The influence of the production methods can be heard in the albums Waylon Jennings went on to record in the 1970s (with instrumentation highly unconventional for country music) and his poetically sophisticated style of songwriting was highly influential on Kris Kristofferson. It was Newbury who convinced Roger Miller to record Kristofferson's "Me & Bobby McGee", which went on to launch Kristofferson as country music's top songwriter. Newbury is also responsible for getting Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark to move to Nashville and pursue careers as songwriters.
In 1974, he moved to a house on the McKenzie River in Oregon with his wife, Susan, and newborn son, Chris, where they welcomed three more children over the years. He recorded several albums throughout the 1970s for Elektra and ABC/Hickory, all of them critically praised, but financially unsuccessful. In 1980, he was given the distinction of being the youngest songwriter ever inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Although he spent much of the 1980s retired from performing and recording music, he returned to both recording and touring in the late 1980s before he died, in Springfield, Oregon, following a battle with emphysema on September 29, 2002, aged 62.
Newbury wrote many songs that would be recorded by singers and songwriters such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bill Monroe, Johnny Rodriguez, Hank Snow, Ray Charles, Tony Rice, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tammy Wynette, Ray Price, Don Gibson, Brenda Lee, Charlie Rich, Lynn Anderson, David Allan Coe, Sammi Smith, Joan Baez, Tom Jones, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Steve Von Till, B.B. King, Linda Ronstadt, Dax Riggs and Bobby "Blue" Bland, among many others.
Although his songs have been recorded by hundreds of performers from a wide variety of musical genres, he is most remembered for his creation of "An American Trilogy", a medley that was recorded by many, including symphony orchestras, and Elvis Presley.
He simultaneously had four Top 10 singles on four different charts in the late 60s. Eddy Arnold had a No. 1 Country hit with "Here Comes the Rain, Baby", Andy Williams had a No. 4 Easy Listening hit with "Sweet Memories", and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition had a No. 5 Pop/Rock hit with "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)". The group also recorded the Newbury penned "Sunshine".
Shortly before his death, Newbury was interviewed by John Kruth, who was writing a biography on Townes Van Zandt, where he stated "How many people have listened to my songs and thought, 'He must have a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a pistol in the other'. Well, I don't. I write my sadness."
Many of Newbury's songs, such as "The Thirty-Third Of August", "The Future Is Not What It Used To Be", and "Just Dropped In", delve into the dark recesses of the human psyche. “You’ve Always Got The Blues” was used as the soundtrack for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 8-part TV series, Stringer.
Selected list of songs
- 1968 "Funny, Familiar, Forgotten Feelings" - Tom Jones, Don Gibson
- 1968 "Sweet Memories" - Willie Nelson, Andy Williams
- 1968 "Time Is A Thief" - Solomon Burke, B.B. King
- 1968 "Here Comes The Rain Baby" - Eddy Arnold, Roy Orbison
- 1968 "Weeping Annaleah" - Tom Jones
- 1968 "Mister Can't You See" - Buffy Sainte-Marie (her only Top 75 hit)
- 1968 "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" - The First Edition
- 1969 "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" - Jerry Lee Lewis
- 1969 "San Francisco Mabel Joy" - Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Kenny Rogers, Joan Baez, John Denver
- 1969 "The 33rd of August" - David Allan Coe
- 1969 "I Don't Think Much About Her No More" - Johnny Cash, George Hamilton IV, Bobby Bare, Tammy Wynette
- 1970 "Are My Thoughts With You" - Linda Ronstadt
- 1971 "An American Trilogy" - Elvis Presley
- 1971 "Mobile Blue" - Ian Matthews
- 1971 "How I Love Them Old Songs" - Tompall Glaser, Bill Monroe
- 1971 "Frisco Depot" - Waylon Jennings, Roberta Flack
- 1973 "Why You Been Gone So Long" - David Allan Coe, Carl Perkins, Gene Clark, Tony Rice
- 1974 "If You See Her" - Waylon Jennings, Johnny Rodriguez
- 1975 "Lovers" - Charlie Rich, Olivia Newton-John (Cliff Richard) (The Walker Brothers)
- 1977 "Makes Me Wonder If I Ever Said Goodbye" - Kenny Rogers
- 1978 "Wish I Was" - Sammi Smith
- 1979 "Darlin' Take Care of Yourself" - Tammy Wynette
- 1980 "That Was The Way It Was Then" - Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis
Newbury tribute albums (in order of release)
- Thirteen covers by as many artists make up the first Newbury tribute album, Frisco Mabel Joy Revisited
- Manowar cover "An American Trilogy" on their 2002 album, Warriors of the World
- Cowboy Johnson included 12 covers on his 2004 tribute, A Grain of Sand
- Toni Jolene Clay covered 15 Newbury songs, 11 on her 2005 album, Amen For Old Friends
- Jonmark Stone & Marie Rhines covered 10 songs on their 2005 album, When I Heard Newbury Sing
- Kacey Jones covers 15 songs on her 2006 tribute album, Kacey Jones Sings Mickey Newbury.
- Ronny Cox sings 12 Newbury songs on his 2007 album, How I love them old songs...
- Will Oldham covers "I Came to Hear the Music" on his 2007 album, Ask Forgiveness
|1968||Harlequin Melodies||—||—||RCA Victor|
|1969||Looks Like Rain||—||—||Mercury|
|1971||'Frisco Mabel Joy||29||58||Elektra|
|1972||Sings His Own||—||—||RCA Victor|
|1973||Heaven Help The Child||—||173||Elektra|
|Live At Montezuma Hall||—||—|
|1974||I Came to Hear the Music||—||209|
|1978||His Eye Is on the Sparrow||—||—|
|1981||After All These Years||—||—||Mercury|
|1988||In a New Age||—||—||Airborne|
|1994||Nights When I Am Sane||—||—||Winter Harvest|
|1996||Lulled by the Moonlight||—||—||Mountain Retreat|
|1998||Live in England||—||—||Roadhouse|
|1999||It Might as Well Be the Moon||—||—||Mountain Retreat|
|2000||Stories from the Silver Moon Cafe||—||—|
|2002||A Long Road Home||—||—|
|2003||Blue to This Day||—||—|
|2011||An American Trilogy||—||—||Saint Cecilia Knows/Mountain Retreat|
|CAN Country||CAN||CAN AC|
|1968||"Weeping Annaleah"||—||—||—||—||—||Harlequin Melodies|
|"Got Down on Saturday (Sunday in the Rain)"||—||—||—||—||—||Sings His Own|
|"San Francisco Mabel Joy"||—||—||—||—||—||Looks Like Rain|
|1970||"Sad Satin Rhyme"||—||—||—||—||—||single only|
|1972||"An American Trilogy"||—||26||—||76||—||'Frisco Mabel Joy|
|"Remember the Good"||—||—||—||—||—|
|1973||"Heaven Help the Child"||—||103||—||—||—||Heaven Help the Child|
|1974||"If I Could Be"||—||—||—||—||—||I Came to Hear the Music|
|"Baby's Not Home"||—||—||—||—||—|
|1977||"Hand Me Another of Those"||94||—||—||—||—||Rusty Tracks|
|"Makes Me Wonder If I Ever Said Goodbye"||—||—||—||—||—|
|1978||"Gone to Alabama"||94||—||—||—||—||His Eye Is on the Sparrow|
|"It Doesn't Matter Anymore"||—||—||—||—||—|
|1979||"Looking for the Sunshine"||82||—||—||—||—||Sailor|
|"Blue Sky Shinin'"||81||—||—||—||—|
|1980||"America the Beautiful"||82||—||—||—||—||single only|
|1981||"Country Boy Saturday Night"||—||—||—||—||—||After All These Years|
|1988||"An American Trilogy"||93||—||—||—||—||In a New Age|
- Talevski, Nick. (2006). Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries. Omnibus Press. p. 462. ISBN 1846090911.
- Dansby, Andrew (10-01-2002). "Mickey Newbury Dies: Songwriter penned hits for Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers and others". Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 643. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.
|AMA Presidents Award
Townes Van Zandt