Tom T. Hall
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|Tom T. Hall|
Tom T. Hall in 1967
|Birth name||Thomas Hall|
|Born||May 25, 1936|
|Origin||Olive Hill, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Genres||Bluegrass, country, Outlaw Country, Folk|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin|
|Labels||Mercury, RCA, Columbia
|Associated acts||Dave Dudley, Patti Page, Johnnie Wright, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash|
|Website||Official Website of Tom T. Hall|
|Oral History, Tom T. Hall talks about writing 'I Love', and the song being a good case for brevity. Interview date June 23, 2008, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Thomas "Tom T." Hall (born May 25, 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky) is an American country music songwriter, singer, instrumentalist and novelist, and short-story writer. He has written 11 No. 1 hit songs, with 26 more that reached the Top 10, including the No. 1 international pop crossover smash "Harper Valley PTA" and the hit "I Love", which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. He became known to fans as "The Storyteller," thanks to his storytelling skills in his songwriting.
Early life and career
Hall was born in 1936. As a teenager, he organized a band called the Kentucky Travelers that performed before movies for a traveling theater. During a stint in the Army, Hall performed over the Armed Forces Radio Network and wrote comic songs about Army experiences. His early career included being a radio announcer at WRON, a local radio station in Ronceverte, West Virginia. Hall was also an announcer at WSPZ, which later became WVRC Radio in Spencer, West Virginia in the 1960s.
Hall's big songwriting break came in 1963, when country singer Jimmy C. Newman recorded his song, "DJ For a Day." Soon, Hall moved to Nashville, arriving in 1964 with $46 and a guitar; within months he had songs climbing the charts. Hall has been nicknamed "The Storyteller," and he has written songs for dozens of country stars, including Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, and Bobby Bare.
One of his earliest successful songwriting ventures, "Harper Valley PTA," was recorded in 1968 by Jeannie C. Riley, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Country Music Chart a week apart, sold over six million copies, and won both a Grammy Award and CMA Award. The song would go on to inspire a motion picture and television program of the same name. Hall himself has recorded this song, on his album The Definitive Collection (as track No. 23). Hall's recording career took off after Riley's rendition of the song, releasing a number of hits from the late 1960s through the early 80s. Some of Hall's biggest hits include "A Week in a Country Jail," "(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine," "I Love," "Country Is," "The Year Clayton Delaney Died," "I Like Beer," "Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet)", and many others. He is also noted for his children-oriented songs, including "Sneaky Snake" and "I Care," the latter of which hit No. 1 on the country charts in 1975. In 1979, Hall appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 4.
Hall won the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes in 1973 for the notes he wrote for his album Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits. He was nominated for, but did not win, the same award in 1976 for his album Greatest Hits Volume 2. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1971.
In 1998 his 1972 song "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" came in second in a BBC Radio 2 poll to find the UK's favorite easy listening record, despite never having been a hit in the UK and being familiar to Radio 2 listeners mostly through occasional plays by DJ Terry Wogan.
His song "I Love", in which the narrator lists the things in life that he loves, was used, with altered lyrics, in a popular 2003 TV commercial for Coors Light, and also used in 2014 in a TV advert for Clipper Teas.
On July 3, 2007, he released the CD Tom T. Hall Sings Miss Dixie & Tom T. on his independent bluegrass label Blue Circle Records.
Hall of fame
On February 12, 2008, Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- In Search of a Song (1971)
- We All Got Together and... (1972)
- Places I've Done Time (1978)
- Song in a Seashell (1985)
Books written by Hall
- How I Write Songs, Why You Can (1976), Chappell Music Co.
- The Songwriter's Handbook (1976), Rutledge Hill Press
- The Storyteller's Nashville (1979), Doubleday & Co.
- The Laughing Man of Woodmont Coves (1982), Doubleday & Co.
- The Acts of Life (1986), The University Of Arkansas Press
- Homewords (1986), The University of Tennessee Press
- Christmas and the Old House (1989), Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
- Spring Hill, Tennessee (1990), Longstreet Press, Inc.
- What a Book! (1996), Longstreet Press, Inc.
- "History of WSPZ/WVRC, Spencer". WVRC. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Tom T. Hall". Grand Ole Opry. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Opry Member List PDF" (PDF). April 23, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Full cast and crew for "Pop! Goes the Country"". IMDB. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- "Eagles' Hotel Flys to Top of Poll". Birmingham Post. Dec 8, 1998. p. 16. Retrieved 23 January 2016 – via Highbeam Research. (subscription required (. ))
- "THE WAY WE LIVE NOW - 1-26-03 - PROCESS - How to Write a Catchy Beer Ad". The New York Times. 26 January 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "93. Tom T. Hall, 'Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine' (1972)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- Allen, Bob. (1998). "Tom T. Hall". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 224–5.