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Tom T. Hall

Tom T. Hall is known as a storyteller, a songwriter with a keen eye for detail and a knack for narrative. Many musicians have covered his songs -- most notably Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 hit "Harper Valley P.T.A." -- and he also has racked up a number of solo hits, including seven number one singles.

Hall is the son of a bricklaying minister, who gave his child a guitar at the age of eight. He had already begun to write poetry, so it was a natural progression for him to begin writing songs. Hall began learning music and performing techniques from a local musician, Clayton Delaney. At the age of 11, his mother died. Four years later, his father was shot in a hunting accident, which prevented him from working. In order to support himself and his father, Hall quit school and took a job in a local garment factory. While he was working in the factory, he formed his first band, the Kentucky Travelers. The group played bluegrass and gigged at local schools as well as a radio station in Morehead, Kentucky. The station was sponsored by the Polar Bear Flour Company; Hall wrote a jingle for the company. After the Kentucky Travelers broke up, Hall became a DJ at the radio station.

In 1957, Hall enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Germany. While in Germany, he performed at local NCO clubs on the Armed Forces Radio Network, where he sang mostly original material, which usually had a comic bent to it. After four years of service, he was discharged in 1961. Once he returned to the States, he enrolled in Roanoke College as a journalism student; he supported himself by DJ'ing at a radio station in Salem, Virginia.

One day a Nashville songwriter was visiting the Salem radio station and he heard Hall's songs. Impressed, the songwriter sent the songs to a publisher named Jimmy Key, who ran New Key Publishing. Key signed Hall as a songwriter, bringing the songs to a variety of recording artists. The first singer to have a hit with one of Hall's songs was Jimmy Newman, who brought "DJ for a Day" to number one on the country charts in 1963. In early 1964, Dave Dudley took "Mad" to the Top Ten. The back-to-back success convinced Hall to move to Nashville, where he planned to continue his career as a professional songwriter.

After Johnnie Wright had a number one hit with Hall's "Hello Vietnam," the music industry began pressuring Tom to become a performer. He decided to take the plunge in 1967, signing a contract with Mercury Records. His first single, "I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew," was released in the summer of 1967 and became a minor hit. Hall followed the single with two other singles in 1968 that failed to crack the Top 40. Then, in the late summer of 1968, Jeannie C. Riley had a major hit with Hall's "Harper Valley P.T.A.," which spent three weeks at the top of the charts and was voted the Single of the Year by the Country Music Association. Its success brought attention to Hall's own recording career, which was evident from the performance of "Ballad of Forty Dollars." The song became his first Top Ten hit, climbing all the way to number four.

Throughout 1969, he had a string of hit singles, culminated by the release of the number one single "A Week in a Country Jail" at the end of the year. The following year was just as successful, as "Shoeshine Man" and "Salute to a Switchblade" both hit the Top Ten. In 1971, he had his second number one single and his biggest hit, "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died," which was based on his childhood hero.

For most of the early '70s, Hall was a consistent hitmaker as well as a popular concert attraction. Between 1971 and 1976, he had five number one hits besides "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died": "(Old Dogs-Children And) Watermelon Wine," "I Love," "Country Is," "I Care," and "Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet)." Hall was appearing on television shows with regularity during this time, particularly Hee Haw. He also wrote a book on songwriting, which led to his authorship of a pair of books in the late '70s and early '80s -- the semi-autobiography The Storyteller's Nashville (1979) and the novel The Laughing Man of Woodmont (1982).

Although he continued to have the occasional Top Ten hit in the late '70s -- most notably the number four "Your Man Loves You, Honey" (1977) -- Hall didn't deliver hit singles as consistently as he did during the first half of the decade. That pattern continued in the early '80s, when he began having trouble cracking the Top 40; only 1984's "P.S. I Love You," a cover of a 1934 Rudy Vallée hit, made it into the Top Ten. After 1986, Hall retired from recording, although artists continued to record his songs. In 1996, he delivered Songs from Sopchoppy, his first album in ten years. Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011. To celebrate his 75th birthday, producers Eric Brace and Peter Cooper assembled a tribute album covering Hall's 1974 album, Songs of Fox Hollow. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I've had this station for a year!!
thenoblebere a n
I saw many times in the 70's I can't even count em. At the old pal amino club. My favorite by his is "I flew over our house last night". Anyone that has ever had a love go bad can feel the "regret" on that song. It still tugs the heart.
Yea you right.
Im a young guy and Tom T. Hall is a great singer I would really like to listen to Tom T. Hall music forever because I love country music. I really am so proud that we have great country singers in America I want that tradition to go on forever because I think its great for people to listen to and enjoy really I do know that for a fact everyone should listen to country music forever.
Would like more info on how and what
Tom t is doing know
I
Love that song.
I have loved his music since I was in junior high (many years ago). One song I remember that I haven't heard on here is Sneaky Snake. There has never been a better story-tellin g singer than Tom.
Tom T. Hall was a good singers i love I love song and other and guys out there tom t hall ain't dead yet he is i think he is like 77 and Ronnie millsap is like 71 he is still alive too
One of my favorite singers and writers. His songs tell stories. Also like Pig Robbins who plays piano for some of his albums.
i love the song i like beer
anjmuller
Tom T. is the best storyteller ever. I do some of his songs at Karaoke and they are alwasy a hit, not for me but Tom T. I truly knows how tell a story. I like the one about Ramona. Also CLayton Delany, That Song is Drivin' Me Crazy.
Part 2 ... watermelon wine. I believe his songs will resonate with people as long as people still have time to sit and listen. God Bless
Tom T. Hall never told you what to feel, he allowed you as a listener to feel it firsthand... T h e worlds he opened in the heartbreakin g honesty of the traveling musician in The Homecoming and the wonderful stories of the Ballad of Forty Dollars, or The Week in a County Jail leaving you hanging on every word sometimes blurring the lines with humour and trajedy .Or the amazing schronicity of a writer aware of the universal truth in fromt of him and to put it down in Old Dogs and Children and Waterm
i think he is great
youthsponsor d a v e
His music has a special place in my childhood:-)
Loved "Sneaky Snake" as a little girl. Remember my sister and I singing it and giggling about it!!!
jench
best ever!!!!!!!
I love anything that Tom T Hall sings. He is awesome.
Dad brought me up on his songs. Imagine a 3rd grade little girl singing one of his songs for talent day (not very well either) in the mid 70s.
bwarvel
Love the old stuff
Drank a lot of BUDS listening to Tom...22 years later w/o BUD I can REALLY appreciate the message in Toms songs.....Lu v ' e m
Always loved Tom T...love his songs, they bring tears to my eyes they're so true.
It's amazing! Tom T came to Vicksburg Ms in 1994 to sing at ameristar casino and ended up playing golf with my husband. I took my 5 mth old to the golf course and He held and played with him. Now that little boy in 6'1 at 184lbs and guess what music he likes? Thats right Tom T Hall. Thanks and We love you Tom T (we still have pictures of you holding Tyler
sassyjan
Just with the broadcast radio stations still played songs like these. Thanks Pandora for filling the void
my favorite
bannanas44
the best story teller in country
james159
Who is this old woman?
erholland

he's great
bisbee0
He, like many others, are sorely missed when I tune in a station. What a great talent and performer.
He has got to be one of the best ever, to me anyway....
moral lesson in all songs >>great\
One of the best songwriters ever and an impressive singer,too. It would be very hard to forget him. Love him! Weezeedav
a great story teller
The best, country story teller& singer-Man, can he paint a beautiful picture of charactors.
I LOVE ALL OF TOM T.HALLS SONGS.HE IS A GREAT SONG WRITER AND SINGER.
What a guy,what a singer,he can whip out a song in about ten minutes,I would love to have his talents,keep it going Pandora....
Tom T Hall is fantastic, I love everything he sings, I have all his records, Cassette tapes and CD's He is awsome, I can listen to him 24/7
rgspops
Lord that bring back so many times in my past. BEND THERE DONE THAT TO MAY TIMES IN MY YOUTH.
goucherlinda
THANKS YOU BRING MEANING TO THE MUSIC GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS LINDA OF C.C. TX.
he was my favorite when I was a child! I remember seeing him at the Fresno County Fair and being so excited, I ran up on stage to sing along! I must have been all of 5 years old.
great song writter gotta luv him
you either have it....or you dont.....Tom T Hall sure has it.....great songs and a great performer..
love tom t. hall. he seems to be the most consistent writer.
I love his voice
The songs that Tom T Hall wrote and sung are about fun things and life, I am only 38 yrs old and most of the oldies I just like because they refleck me.
AMG should mention "Real: The Tom T. Hall Project" - great covers of TTH that introduced me to his songs.
I grew up loveing his music and still do I guess

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