Sign up for newsletter
 

Hall of famer Sonny James dies

Monday, February 22, 2016 – Country Music Hall of Fame member Sonny James, best known for the 1957 hit "Young Love," died today at 86.

Known as the Southern Gentleman, James enjoyed 72 country and pop charted releases from 1953-1983. He had a 5-year streak of 16 consecutive number 1 singles on the Billboard charts and a total of 26 chart toppers. James also had much success on the albums chart, scoring 21 top 10 albums from 1964-1976. James was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

James Hugh Loden was born May 1, 1929 near Hackelburg, Ala. His parents were musical, and by 3, the youngster, known as "Sonny," was singing and playing mandolin. A year later, the family received a regular Saturday slot on WMSD-AM in Muscle Shoals, Ala. With the addition of Ruby Palmer joining the family band, Sonny Loden and the Southerners performed throughout the southern U.S.

The group continued until the late 1940s with James moving to Nashville after serving in the Korean War. He signed with Capitol Records with the aid of Chet Akins with whom he had roomed. James changed his name at the urging of Capitol head Ken Nelson.

Slim Whitman asked James to be the lead singer of his new touring band after meeting on the Louisiana Hayride. James stayed for only two months and soon was a regular performer on ABC's Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Mo. Starting in 1955.

"Young Love" was released in late 1956 and became a crossover hit on the pop charts as well. James left Capitol in 1959, signing with record labels including Dot, RCA, Capitol again and Columbia.

In 1962, James became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. During his second stint with Capitol (1963-72), he was a force on the charts. Joining with the vocal group that had been together for five years, the Southern Gentlemen, James eventually had a number one hit with "You're the Only World I Know," which he co-wrote with Bob Tubert.

James' number one streak started in 1967 with "Need You." The streak continued with "I'll Never Find Another You," "It's the Little Things," A World of Our Own," "Heaven Says Hello," "Born to Be With You," "Only the Lonely," Running Bear," "Since I Met You Baby," "It's Just a Matter of Time," "My Love," "Don't Keep Me Hangin' On," Endlessly," "Empty Arms," "Bright Lights, Bit City," Here Comes Honey Again," Only Love Can Break a Heart," "That's Why I Love You Like I Do" and "When the Show is On the Roses."

James also saw his music go into space. In 1971, he made a special music recording for the crew of Apollo 14. They later gave him one of the small American flags that they had carried to the moon.

James' last number one was "Is It Wrong (For Loving You)" in 1974. He continued charting until 1983. His last studio CD was 1982's "I'm Looking Over the Rainbow" on Dimension Records.

James also produced Marie Osmond's first three albums with the first single, "Paper Roses," going number one on Billboard.

James retired in 1984. He is survived by his wife, Doris.

Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: There's a lot to be said about The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers have soldiered on, occupying the fringes of the musical world with ups and downs. After not knowing whether the group would even continue following the departure of half of the band a few years ago, The Felice Brothers continued with a new rhythm section and a new album, "Undressed," that is heavily political.... »»»
Concert Review: Turner bring it on (to his second) home – Frank Turner opined during the first of four sold-out nights of the Lost Evenings Festival that Boston was his home away from his British home. The likable, accessible singer hit the sweet spot not only with his perspective, but his performance as well demonstrated why. Turner made a major change in this year's festival. For the first time, he... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Wilson goes her own way After having huge success at the get go with "Redneck Woman," Wilson eventually went her own way and took a break. During her "hiatus," Wilson started her own label and was a "120 percent mom" to her teenage daughter.... »»»
Carll tells it like it is A visit with Hayes Carll finds him taking a rare day off at home to discuss new album "What It Is" co-produced by Brad Jones and Carll's girlfriend, Allison Moorer. "This album works around three themes; our relationship (he and Moorer), the world and myself.... »»»
Watson gets "Lucky" Dale (The Real Deal) Watson has been releasing hard country albums since 1995 and shows no signs of slowing down on his most recent release, "Call Me Lucky." This record marks his third effort recorded in Memphis, at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, with Watson's regular touring band, The Lone Stars.... »»»
Live at the Grey Eagle CD review - Live at the Grey Eagle
Let's just say Amanda Anne Platt and her five-piece band The Honeycutters had home court advantage playing in their hometown of Asheville, N.C. in what is as warm a live album as you'll hear. »»»
American Highway CD review - American Highway
Buckle up for a rollicking, joyful, adventuresome ride as Marty Brown drives flat-out down the straightaways and hugs tight the curves of the "American Highway." It's great to have Brown, who's written hits for Trace Adkins »»»
Front Porch CD review - Front Porch
Joy Williams' "Front Porch" album is a beautiful collection of acoustic, country-folk music. The title cut, for instance, includes sweet fiddling, while the rest of the album takes an appreciated low-key approach to its instrumentation. »»»
Hellbent CD review - Hellbent
Randy Rogers makes a big, bold statement with his title track, but it's the smaller insightful moment expressed through "Wine In A Coffee Cup" that stands out most. Rogers sings it empathetically over a swaying groove... »»»