Personalities | Tom T. Hall | Mainstream Country
(Vocals, songwriter, guitar, b. 1936)
Hall had his own band, The Kentucky Travelers, by the time he was 16. He worked as a commercial DJ and for armed-forces radio in Germany between 1957 and 1961, moving to Nashville in 1964. Hall’s career changed overnight in 1968 when Jeannie C. Riley took his song, ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.’, to the top of both Billboard’s country and pop charts. His melodic songs about ordinary people triggered a succession of hits: ‘A Week In A Country Jail’ (1970, his first US country No. 1), ‘The Year That Clayton Delaney Died’ (1971) and ‘(Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine’ (1973) were among his biggest hits recorded for Mercury. His songs ‘Ballad Of Forty Dollars’ (1968), ‘Homecoming’ (1969) and ‘Salute To A Switchblade Knife’ (1970) underlined why Bobby Bare, Dave Dudley and Jimmy C. Newman gravitated to his work.
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