Today in Texas History – October 12

Image result for mickey newbury album cover

From the Annals of the Tunesmiths –  In 1980, Mickey Newbury was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association International Hall of Fame.  Newbury, who was from Houston, started as a singer in The Embers – a group which had moderate success opening for acts such as Sam Cooke and Johnny Cash.  After a stint in the Air Force, Newbury decided to try songwriting and moved to Nashville where he signed with Acuff-Rose and later RCA and cranked out hit songs for a wide range of performers including Andy Williams, Roy Orbison, Eddy Arnold, Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings, B. B. King, Joan Baez, Dottie West, Linda Rondstadt, Rat Price, Jerry Lee Lewis, David Allen Coe and Johnny Rodriguez to name a few.  In 1968 Newbury became the first songwriter to ever score Number 1 hits on the easy listening (Sweet Memories – Andy Williams), country (Here Comes the Rain Baby – Eddy Arnold), rhythm and blues (Time is a Thief – Solomon Burke), and pop-rock charts (Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) – Kenny Rogers & the First Edition) at the same time. This incredible feat has never been matched.  Among his best known works is his “American Trilogy” arrangement of Dixie, All My Trials and The Battle Hymn of the Republic which Elvis Presley frequently used as the closing number for his live shows.

Newbury’s influence as a songwriter and producer can hardly be overstated.  He was considered a “songwriter’s songwriter” and is listed as a major influence by such diverse tunesmiths as Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Roger Miller, Guy Clark and John Prine. Although never successful as singer (with over 20 albums), he is a legend among those who know music.

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