Alabama Music Achievers

Alphabetical Achievers Listing


MERLE & BUFORD ABNER Wedowee, Alabama
-Members of the Swanee River Boys
-Their unique sound was often compared to the Mills Brothers, due to their black, spiritual sound with smooth, close harmony
-The lead singer, Buford Abner, wrote many famous songs including "Gloryland Jubilee" His brother, Merle Abner, sang bass for the group
-They sang together for thirty-seven years and had network programs on both NBC and CBS

FRANK ADAMS, JR.Birmingham, Alabama
-He has performed in the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Howard University Swingmasters, and with Erskine Hawkins.
-He served for 47 years as a music teacher and supervisor of music for Birmingham City Schools.
-In 1978, Adams was inducted as a charter member into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
-In 1998 he was named executive director of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

-Played lead guitar with Roy Orbison for 7 years.
-Played the famous lick on Roy's biggest hit "Pretty Woman"
-Helped launch the career of Bobby Goldsboro.
-In the 1970's played guitar for B.J. Thomas.

THE AEOLIANS Huntsville, Alabama
-Originally organized in 1946
-Choral music which ranges from the Baroque era to the twentieth century they are an authoritative exponent of Negro spirituals
-Performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
-Over 200 concerts in the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and Canada
-Under the sponsorship of the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation of New York City, the choir toured Romania (1981) and Great Britain (1983).
-The Aeolians have also made appearances on Good Morning America (ABC) and the CBS Morning Show.

RAY AGEE Dixon Mills, Alabama
-Rhythm & blues singer whose smooth and relaxed vocal style was similar to Charles Brown
-Agee and his brothers formed a gospel group called the Agee Brothers. The group often performed in local churches on the west coast.
-Some of Agee's later records include guitar work by Bay Area artist Johnny Heartsman.

ALABAMA-- Fort Payne, Alabama
-41 number one singles
-21 consecutive #1 singles
-Record sales in excess of 45 million albums
-Became the first group to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association
-Named "Country Music Artist of the Decade" in the 1980s
-Inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993
-Famous for such songs as "Mountain Music," "High Cotton," and "My Home's In Alabama"

ALABAMA SHAKES Athens, Alabama
-The group consists of lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, keyboard player Ben Tanner, and drummer Steve Johnson
- The group received three nominations for the 2013 Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance for "Hold On", and Best Recording Package for their debut album, Boys & Girls
-"Boys & Girls" was awarded Gold Record status by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 in the United States

AVA ALDRIDGE Sheffield, Alabama
-Talented songwriter and vocalist,
-She co-wrote the award winning song "Sharing The Night Together" recorded by Dr. Hook, the #1 song 'Treat Her Right' by Sawyer Brown, as well as songs by America, John Prine, Tammy Wynette, Percy Sledge, Z.Z. Hill, Barbara Mandrell, Marty Stuart, Melba Montgomery, and many others
-As a songwriter she had over 150 of her songs recorded
-Background vocalist on recordings by Hank Williams, Jr., Crystal Gayle, Mac Davis, Wilson Pickett,
Joan Baez, Percy Sledge, Roy Clark, Ronnie Milsap, Delbert McClinton, Amy Grant and many more.

WALT ALDRIDGE Florence, Alabama
-A songwriter, singer, musician, engineer and producer
-Billboard magazine named Aldridge one of the Top Ten Country Songwriters of the year in 1989 and 1991
-Writer of #1 songs by Rickey Van Shelton "I Am A Simple Man" and Ronnie Milsap "There's No Gettin' Over Me" which was ASCAP's most performed country song in 1982 and in the top 5 in 1983
-"Holding Her and Loving You" was named song of the year by the Nashville Songwriters Association International

ARTHUR ALEXANDER Sheffield, Alabama
-Wrote & recorded the 1st hit for FAME Studio,"You Better Move On"
-Career was the cornerstone of the "Muscle Shoals Sound"
-His style influenced Beatles, Rolling Stones, Percy Sledge, and many others.
-The Beatles recorded his song "Anna" and The Rolling Stones recorded his "You Better Move On"

JAMES ALLEN Mobile, Alabama
-Classic Birmingham tenor singer
-He came to Jefferson County in 1920 and was drafted into the Dunham Jubilee Singers. He toured and recorded with that quartet during the 1920s
-In the early 1930s he moved to Gadsden, Alabama to train a quartet, known as the Golden Stars, sponsored by the Gulf State Steel Company

RICH AMERSON Livingston, Alabama
-A relatively obscure Alabama blues harmonica player and singer who recorded some sides for the Folkways label in the early 1950s
-He drew most of his vocal inspiration from old field hollers and shouts
-He performed in local jukes and at Saturday night socials
-In the late 1930s he recorded for the Library of Congress
-He is listed in The Big Book of the Blues and his recordings appear on numerous blues compilations

DAVE ANDERSON Huntsville, Alabama
-Toured with gospel duo, BeBe and CeCe Winans doing shows in Europe and Japan
-Later became guitarist for the rock group Brother Cain

-One of the brother acts of the 1930's
-Considerable significance as predecessors of the highly successful team of Johnnie and Jack (Anglin)
-Jim Anglin had a later career as a songwriter
-As a musical group, the Anglins fit within the spectrum of what might be termed the Delmore tradition

JACK ANGLIN Athens, Alabama
-Jack along with Johnnie Wright formed the group Johnnie and Jack
-Johnnie & Jack ranked as one of the great Country duets of the 40's and 50's
-In 1951, they had the Top 5 hit song "Poison Love" that elevated them from entertainers to stars

APPOINTED Cullman, Alabama
-The members, Mike Foust (tenor vocal) formerly with the Singing Ambassadors, Michael Moore (lead vocal) winner of the 1996 National Quartet Convention talent contest in the individual category, and Tommy Swindle (baritone vocal) songwriter for the group
-Swindle has written such songs as "Master Physician," "Hold Back the Sea," and the top 40 hit, "I Go to the Mountain" He also wrote "Childlike Faith," which was recorded by both the Freemans and the Pfeifers, and "A Strong Hand," which was recorded by Gold City

-Originally known as the Original Cresent City Jazzers the group changed their name after moving to St. Louis in 1925
-Trumpet player with the group, Sterling Bose went on to have a very successful career in Jazz up until the 1940s

-Accompanied Bobby Blue Bland and Johnny Taylor during the 1960's. He also played with Aretha Franklin
-Arthur played tenor sax
-He also has his own publishing company, Prichard Music Co. and record label, Castanet Records

DONALD ASHWANDER Birmingham, Alabama
-For 28 years he was Musical Director, composer and performer with The Paper Bag Players, considered by many to be America's foremost children's theater
-He composed a wealth of music: southern ragtime, cabaret songs, ranging from giddy musical story stomps to torchy ballads straight out of 1940's film noir, Civil War inspired operettas, southern gospel flavored popular songs, and imaginative, skillfully crafted contemporary rags

ERNIE ASHWORTH Huntsville, Alabama
-In 1963 and 1964 Ernie was voted the "Most Promising Male Artist" by Cashbox, Billboard and Record World
-From 1960 to 1970 every record Ernie released made the national charts. Of these, 12 were Top 10 Hits
-His signature song was the 1963 #1 hit "Talk Back Trembling Lips"
-Wrote songs for country stars such as: Little Jimmy Dickens, Carl Smith, Johnny Horton, Wilma Lee Cooper and Paul Anka
-Joined Grand Ole Opry in 1964

-The only student in the history of The Juilliard School ever allowed to pursue, and receive, simultaneous degrees in piano and organ performance
-Gave the premiere performance on the new pipe organ at Lincoln Center
-Has recorded 12 albums featuring classical music as well as his unique arrangements of sacred and popular music

JAMES ATHERTON Montgomery, Alabama
-He made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1971 as Goro in Madame Butterfly, and with the Metropolitan Opera in 1977 as the Simpleton in Boris Godunov
-Since 1977 Atherton has been gaining experience as a director of opera
-His flexible vocal technique and dramatic abilities have made him highly respected in operas from all stylistic periods

CHOLLY ATKINS Pratt City, Alabama
-He played drums in an Army band and co-wrote songs with Sy Oliver, including "Baby, Are You Kidding?" and "She's My Buddy's Chick," the latter recorded by Nat 'King' Cole
-He took jazz tap dancing to new heights
-Atkins devised the routines that became concert trademarks for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Marvelettes, the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha & the Vandellas, and Marvin Gaye

LEON ATKINS a.k.a. LITTLE JIMMY REED Enterprise, Alabama
-Self taught musician who learned to play the guitar and harmonica around the age of 16
-Recipient of the 1995 Alabama Blues Treasure Award
-Plays many festivals around the south including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival

VICTOR 'RED' ATKINS Birmingham, Alabama
-Atkins has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America and Black Entertainment Television's Jazz Notes
-When he is not touring, he is an adjunct professor for Ellis Marsalis at the University of New Orleans
-He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1998

-J.R. Cobb (Birmingham, Al.), guitar; Dean Daughtry (Samson, Al.), keyboards; Buddy Buie (Dothan, Al.), producer / manager
-Former sessionmen, the band smoothed out Southern rock=s rough edges with studio sophistication
-J.R. Cobb, Dean Daughtry and Buddy Buie had been members of the Classics IV
-Their hit singles included "So In To You" (#7, 1977), "Imaginary Lover" (#7, 1978), and "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight" (#14, 1978)

TOMMY ATWOOD Mobile, Alabama
-In 1999 inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame
-In 1971 he was named the Singing News' favorite tenor and in 1996 was designated a Living Legend
-The Florida boys recorded 11 of his songs; Atwood or others have recorded 43 of his compositions

HERMAN AUTREY Evergreen, Alabama
-Trumpet player with Fats Waller 1930's
-Toured Europe with Saints & Sinners during the 1960's

Alphabetical Achievers Listing


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