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: Mumford and Sons up to snuff, for the most part – Mumford and Sons have always played it smart when it has come to career moves. They have not overtoured by becoming regular fixtures on the touring circuit. Their M.O. is to tour just enough upon an album release and then disappear for a stretch. Ditto for releasing new music ("Delta" just came out last month, Mumford's first release... »»»
Concert Review: Despite small crowd, Hood accomplishes mission – It would have been quite easy to think that Adam Hood would have mailed in this gig. It could not have been easy to make your debut in the Boston area after putting out seven albums, not to mention having songs picked by A list artists, and having maybe 25 people show up. If the Alabama native was dissuaded by the small crowd, he did not show it.... »»»
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

Taylor uncovers the past, offering new perspectives Suffice it to say that the past has always loomed large throughout Chip Taylor's career. That's all the more obvious if only for the fact that Taylor wrote some of the biggest pop hits of the '60s, "Wild Thing"... »»»
Tyminski goes dark Dan Tyminski (known simply as "Tyminski" on his 2017 release "Southern Gothic") has traditional music roots and unassailable bluegrass street cred especially given his membership in Alison Krauss' Union Station. He is also a powerful songwriter and has been writing songs for himself and others for years now.... »»»
Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Woven Waters CD review - Woven Waters
Tellico hails from that bastion of bluegrass and hybrid bluegrass, Asheville, N.C. to deliver its sophomore album "Woven Waters.'' This effort melds their rather inherent bluegrass affinities with British Isle influences,  »»»
Christmas Everywhere CD review - Christmas Everywhere
Rodney Crowell's "Christmas Everywhere" is a (mostly) melancholy collection of songs, with Christmas time as its setting. It's a strong set of carefully worded tunes, set to widely varying musical backings.  »»»
The Southern Ground Sessions CD review - The Southern Ground Sessions
Blackberry Smoke's "The Southern Ground Sessions" EP is five versions of songs from the band's recent "Find a Light" album, along with a cover of Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky," which also features vocalist/violinist Amanda Shires. »»»