About Boudleaux Bryant
Felice Bryant (August 7, 1925 – April 22, 2003) and Boudleaux Bryant (February 13, 1920 – June 25, 1987) were an American wife and husband country music and pop songwriting team best known for songs such as "Rocky Top," "Love Hurts" and numerous Everly Brothers hits, including "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and "Bye Bye Love".
Boudleaux was born Diadorius Boudleaux Bryant in Shellman, Georgia, and was trained as a classical violinist. He performed with the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra during its 1937-38 season, but had more interest in country fiddling and joined Hank Penny and his Radio Cowboys, an Atlanta-based western music band. In 1945 he met Matilda Genevieve Scaduto while performing at a hotel in her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and their meeting resulted in a marriage of two future Hall of Fame songwriters.
Felice, as her husband affectionately called her, came from an Italian family of music lovers. Although she had done some singing, she was a poet at heart with a natural gift for writing songs that - combined with her husband's music expertise - led to them becoming one of the most successful writing teams in modern music.
During the first years of their marriage, the Bryants struggled financially, living in a mobile home, where they wrote upwards of 80 songs. They solicited a number of country music artists in an attempt to sell their compositions but were either ignored or politely rejected until singer Little Jimmy Dickens recorded their "Country Boy". The song went to No. 7 on the 1948 country charts and opened the door to a working relationship with Fred Rose at Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1950, the Bryants moved to Nashville to work full time at songwriting. Some of their compositions from the early 1950s included the swinging "Sugar Beet" (recorded by Moon Mullican) and the bluesy "Midnight" (recorded by Red Foley).
The Bryants wrote more songs for Dickens as well as for popular country artist Carl Smith, and at the same time released four 45 rpm singles of their own to modest success. Beginning in 1957 the Bryants came to national prominence in both country music and pop music when they wrote a string of hugely successful songs for the Everly Brothers and hits for others such as Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. Their compositions were recorded by many artists from a variety of musical genres, including Tony Bennett, Sonny James, Eddy Arnold, Bob Moore, Charley Pride, Nazareth, Jim Reeves, Leo Sayer, Simon & Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughan, The Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, Count Basie, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan (Dylan's Self Portrait album has one of Felice's tracks and one co-written with her husband), and others.
In 1962, The Bryants wrote "Too Many Chicks", a song that became a hit for Leona Douglas, the first African-American woman to record as a country and western singer. Leona was discovered by Fred Foster of Monument Records. Fred Foster also noticed that Boudleaux had a secretary, a woman named Bobby McKee, and he suggested that Kris Kristofferson use her name in a song, which became Me and Bobby McGee.
The Bryants eventually moved to a home not far from Nashville on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tennessee, near friends Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. In 1978, they moved to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where they purchased the "Rocky Top Village Inn" in the Great Smoky Mountains. In 1979 they released their own album called A Touch of Bryant. "Rocky Top", one of their more than 1,500 recorded songs, was adopted as a State song of Tennessee in 1982 and the unofficial fight song for the University of Tennessee sports teams.
During their career, the Bryants earned 59 BMI country, pop, and R&B music awards. In 1972 they were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 1986 into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 1991 into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Boudleaux Bryant is the third most successful songwriter of the 1950s on the U.K. chart and Felice the 21st.
Boudleaux Bryant died in 1987. Felice Bryant remained active writing songs and in 1991 the Nashville Arts Foundation honored her with their "Living Legend Award". She died in 2003. They are interred together in the Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville.
Selected list of songs