Tom T. Hall Dies: Country Music Hall Of Fame Artist Was 85

Tom T. Hall Dies: Country Music Hall Of Fame Artist Was 85

August 21, 2021

Tom T. Hall, a Country Music Hall of Fame artist known for such songs as “I LIke Beer,” died today at age 85. He died at home in Franklin, Tennessee, according to his son. No cause of death was given.

A consummate country songwriter, Hall is known for the such classics as “That’s How I Got To Memphis” and “Harper Valley PTA.”

Hall entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008, alongside Emmylou Harris, The Statler Brothers and Ernest Stoneman. He was a Grand Ole Opry member since 1971.

During his long career, he wrote 12 No. 1 hit songs, with 26 more reaching the Top 10. Rolling Stone included him on its list of 100 Greatest Songwriters, an apt tribute for a man who earned the nickname”The Storyteller,” given him by Tex Ritter.

Born in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Hill got his early start performing in a band that played before movies for a traveling theater. After joining the Army, he performed on Armed Forces Radio and wrote humorous songs about his Army life.

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He returned to civilian life and enrolled in Roanoke College, working as a DJ on several stations in West Virginia and Kentucky in the 1960s.

His songwriting breakthrough came when Jimmy C. Newman recorded “Dj for a Day,” which prompted Hall to move to Nashville and begin working as a staff songwriter at Newman’s Newkeys Music publishing company. It was there he appended the middle initial “T” to his name.

During his career Hall wrote songs for the likes of Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson and Bobby Bare. But Jeanne C. Riley won the chance to record “Harper Valley PTA” in 1968, and saw it skyrocket to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart and its Hot Country single chart, both impressive feats in a musically rich era.

The record sold over six million copies and won Grammy and CMA Awards, going on to inspire a motion picture and television show of the same name.

Hall used the momentum from that major hit to build his own catalog. .

 

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