Tuesday, April 22, 2003

TN songwriter who wrote "Rocky Top" dies at 77

Felice Bryant died today. In her career with her husband Boudleaux she wrote 800+ songs, and "[t]he couple’s compositions played a key role in the Everly Brothers’ career, and their songs have been recorded by a wide range of artists including Eddy Arnold, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, Simon & Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughan, the Grateful Dead, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Elvis Costello, Count Basie, Dean Martin, Ruth Brown, Cher, R.E.M. and Ray Charles," as reported here. This video clip from a Knoxville TV station tells the story.

Their most famous composition, to anyone who has ever been to, watched, or listened to a college football game in Knoxville, is "Rocky Top," facts about which are stated here. "Although it took a while to catch on, this song has become as much a part of the University of Tennessee's tradition as orange and white uniforms," according to this report in the Knoxville paper. At other SEC schools, the same article notes, "Just the thought of hearing "Rocky Top" - over and over again - makes people cringe."

I'm no Tennessee fan, but the sound of Rocky Top is exciting like much of the college football hoopla everywhere is exciting, and I like it just as much as the story of the first Smoky, who stirred up the crowd at Neyland Stadium in 1953, as retold here.

Tennessee football is pretty much summed up in this article, a version of which makes the rounds every fall I think and is one of the best pieces anyone ever sent me by e-mail.

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