WILLIAM OWEN BRADLEY (October 21, 1915 – January 7, 1998) was an American record producer who, along with Chet Atkins and Bob Ferguson , was one of the chief architects of the 1950s and 1960s Nashville sound in country music and rockabilly.
* 1 Before the fame * 2 The Nashville sound * 3 Starmaker * 4 Later years and honors * 5 References * 6 Bibliography * 7 External links
BEFORE THE FAME
A native of
In 1947, Bradley took a position as a music arranger and songwriter at Decca Records . He worked for Paul Cohen on recordings by some of the biggest talents of the day, including Ernest Tubb , Burl Ives , Red Foley and Kitty Wells . Learning from Cohen, he eventually began to produce records on his own. When his mentor left the label in 1958, Bradley became vice president of Decca's Nashville division, and began pioneering what would become the "Nashville sound."
THE NASHVILLE SOUND
For more details on this topic, see Nashville sound .
Country music had long been looked on as unsophisticated and folksy, and was largely confined to listeners in the less affluent small towns of the American South and Appalachia . In the late 1950s, Bradley's home base of Nashville was positioning itself to be a center of the recording industry, and not just the traditional home of the Grand Ole Opry . In fact, the Nashville sound began in a Quonset hut attached to a house Bradley owned with his brother Harold at 804 16th Avenue South in Nashville.
The Quonset Hut is commonly recognized as the birthplace of a more commercial country music that often crossed over into pop. This distinct genre of American music was developed primarily by Owen Bradley's crew of hand picked musicians, Grady Martin , Bob Moore , Hank Garland and Buddy Harman —Nashville's "A-Team ." The success of Bradley's Quonset Hut Studio spurred RCA Victor to build its famous RCA Studio B . A handful of other labels soon followed setting up shop on what would eventually become known as Music Row . Bradley and his contemporaries infused hokey melodies with more refined lyrics and blended them with a refined pop music sensibility to create the Nashville sound, known later as Countrypolitan. Light, easy listening piano (as popularized by Floyd Cramer ) replaced the clinky honky-tonk piano (ironically, one of the artists Bradley would record in the 1950s was honky tonk blues singer pianist Moon Mullican - the Mullican sessions produced by Bradley were experimental in that they merged Moon's original blues style with the emerging Nashville sound stylings). Lush string sections took the place of the mountain fiddle sound; steel guitars and smooth backing vocals rounded out the mix.
Regarding the Nashville sound, Bradley stated, "Now we've cut out the fiddle and steel guitar and added choruses to country music. But it can't stop there. It always has to keep developing to keep fresh."
Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut Studio console
The singers Bradley produced made unprecedented headway into radio,
and artists such as
Bradley sold The
Quonset Hut to Columbia (which today is a division
Sony Music Entertainment
LATER YEARS AND HONORS
Owen Bradley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of
Fame . One additional claim to fame is that he produced records for
more fellow Hall of Fame members (six) than anyone else except Paul
Cohen who produced nine -
Red Foley ,
Ernest Tubb ,
His production of Cline's legendary hits like "Crazy ," "I Fall to
Pieces " and "Walkin\' After Midnight " remain, more than fifty years
later, the standard against which great female country records are
measured today. It is his work with Cline and
In 1997, the Metro Parks Authority in Nashville dedicated a small public park between 16th Avenue South and Division Street to Owen Bradley, where his bronze likeness sits at a bronze piano. Owen Bradley Park is at the northern end of Music Row . Bradley also has a section of roadway named after him where Bradley's Barn once stood in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee on Benders Ferry Road.
* ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1958-04-21. Retrieved 2014-07-30. * ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1-904041-96-5 . * ^ "Oh boy: Why Buddy Holly still matters today". London: The Independent . January 23, 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2014. * ^ Carpenter, Cecil. " Gene Vincent Biography". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
* Oermann, Robert K. (1998). "Owen Bradley" In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Ed. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 50–51. * Richliano, James Adam (2002). "Angels We Have Heard: The Christmas Song Stories." Star Of Bethlehem Books, Chatham, New York. (Includes interviews with Bradley and chapters on Bradley's involvement in the making of "Jingle Bell Rock", "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree", and "A Holly Jolly Christmas").