About Sonny James
Dubbed the "Southern Gentleman"
American Country Music Singer-songwriter.
Sonny James (born James Loden on May 1, 1929 in Hackleburg, Alabama) is an American country music singer and songwriter. In 2006, James was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Sonny James (Loden) was born on a farm into a family of musicians. By age three he was playing a mandolin and singing. At age four he joined with his "Mom" & "Pop" and nine-year-old sister Thelma "Sis" to perform on an area radio station. Ruby Palmer also joined the group and the singing Sonny Boy & The Loden family's popularity was such that before long they were playing theaters, auditoriums and schoolhouses throughout the southern United States. After years on the road, the two girls married and the family band dissolved in 1947.
In 1950, Sonny James joined a country group in Memphis, Tennessee, but his desire for a full-time career in music was interrupted by service in the Korean War. After nearly eighteen months overseas, he was shipped home and discharged in the late fall of 1952. James later headed for Nashville, Tennessee where, with the help of Chet Atkins, whom James had roomed with, he signed with Capitol Records. The company had him drop his last name of Loden, and as "Sonny James" he made his first studio record. While appearing on a popular radio show, the Louisiana Hayride, he met musician Slim Whitman. James's performance on stage playing a fiddle and singing brought a strong crowd response and Whitman invited him to front for his new touring band. James stayed with Whitman's group for a few months before returning to Nashville to make further recordings including what became his first Top Ten country hit, That's Me Without You. Over the next few years, he had several songs that did reasonably well on the country music charts and he continued to develop his career with performances at live country music shows. He also did well on radio and then on the all-important new medium, television, where he appeared on the Ozark Jubilee and Ed Sullivan shows.
Dubbed the "Southern Gentleman" because of his polite demeanor, Sonny James recorded "Young Love", a 45 rpm single for which he would forever be remembered. That was in 1957. As the first-ever teenage country "crossover" single, it topped both the country and pop music charts. He gained more exposure with a television appearances on the very important Ed Sullivan Show. After leaving Capitol Records for the 1st time in 1959, Sonny James signed with National Recording Corporation. His career also included stints with Dot (1960-1961), RCA (1961-1962), his second stint with Capitol (1963-1972), Columbia (1972-1979), Monument (1979), and Dimension (1981-1983).
Sonny James went on to a long and highly successful career and in 1962 he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. From 1964 to 1972, Sonny James was a dominant force in country music. Beginning in 1967 with "I'll Never Find Another You" and ending with "Here Comes Honey Again" in 1971, Sonny James recorded 16 straight #1 singles in addition to 72 verified chart hits. James's career No. 1 total would eventually stand at 23, the last coming with 1974's "Is It Wrong (For Loving You)."
The No. 1 streak record is a point of contention among historians. Country supergroup Alabama reportedly surpassed James's record in 1985 with their 17th No. 1 song, "Forty Hour Week (For a Livin')," but the dispute stems from a 1982 Christmas single, "Christmas in Dixie." The Christmas song peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in January 1983, in the middle of what is widely considered to be a streak of 21 No. 1 songs. Some sources, including the Alabama Music Hall of Fame web site, state that the failure of "Christmas in Dixie" snapped Alabama's streak before it could achieve parity with James's; others, such as Joel Whitburn's "Top Country Songs: 1944-2005", disregard non-No. 1 Christmas singles (such as "Christmas in Dixie") in determining chart-topping streaks and consider Alabama to have surpassed the record.
James was a guest performer on popular television shows, such as the Bob Hope Show, the Ed Sullivan Show and Hee Haw. He also made minor appearances in several Hollywood motion pictures and in 1969, Billboard magazine named him "Artist of the Year."
In 1983, James retired to his home and wife Doris in Nashville, Tennessee.
For his contribution to the music industry, James has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2006, James was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and also appeared on TV for the first time in nearly 20 years, to accept his induction on the Country Music Association Awards, on November 6, 2006.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.