The Life and Music of Gene Cotton

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Introduction

Gene Cotton was an American pop/folk singer and songwriter born  in Columbus, Ohio in 1944  but later moved to Tennessee in the late 1970s. The singer/songwriter made charting singles during the 70s music era, such as Sunshine Roses,” Damn It All,” “You’ve Got Me Runnin,'” “Before My Heart Finds Out,” “Like a Sunday in Salem” and “If I Could Get You (Into My Life).”

Gene Cotton’s Early Years

The American pop and folk singer-songwriter Gene Cotton achieved brief musical success with his several moderate hits (such as the #23 pop hit “Before My Heart Finds Out”) from the early to late 70’s music era. Cotton was born on June 30, 1944, in Columbus, Ohio but had been living in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, since the 1970s.

Gene’s Hit Singles and Other Releases

Cotton’s recording career started in 1974 by being signed to Myrhh Records. He only released one single with their “Sunshine Roses” ( b/w “Mrs. Oliver”), which peaked at #79 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #30 on the adult contemporary chart.

Things started to click when Cotton switched to ABC Records a year later. Even if his first ABC single, “Damn It All,” was not quite a success, three of his follow-up singles made a dent on the Top 40 Billboard chart: “You’ve Got Me Runnin’” (#33, 1976), “Before My Heart Finds Out” (#23, 1978), and “Like a Sunday In Salem” (#40, 1978) which was his last Top 40 entry. Cotton had a brief comeback in 1982, releasing the single “If I Could Get You,which peaked at #72 on the national chart. All of his hits have become oldies’ music favorites.

Gene’s Impact on the Music Industry

Gene Cotton’s artistry made a huge impact on the music industry. He was a well-known singer-songwriter in the 70s and was famous for performing hit songs during his career. 

Gene’s musical style helped shape modern pop and folk songs. His songs are known for their fast tempo and mellow tune, which is perfect for Gene’s soothing voice. This powerful combination influenced aspiring artists to create and sing pop/folk songs. 

This musical style is often seen in songs of the 70s and 80s and even today. Despite being less known than other artists in the 70s, Gene Cotton proved to be among the greatest musicians of his time.

Cotton After His Musical Career

Cotton began to lie low from his singing career and spent much of his later years (as well as his earnings) engaging in a legal dispute against the building of State Route 840, a highway that would enclose Nashville. Cotton has also been active in helping the poor children in the area by providing educational assistance and activities through his own program, Kids on Stage (KOS), which holds summer art classes for the kids. Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Michael McDonald (of Steely and Dan and the Doobie Brothers) helped Cotton in his program by staging performances to raise donations.

In 2001, Cotton attempted to enter politics by running for a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 63, but he was defeated by Republican Glen Casada.

Gene Cotton’s discography (may be partial)

Myrrh Records

(1974)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Sunshine Roses
  • B: Mrs. Oliver

(Sept 1974)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Sunshine Roses [Mono]
  • B: Sunshine Roses [Stereo]

ABC Records

Gene Cotton

  • A: Damn It All
  • B: Country Spirit

(Oct 1975)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Let Your Love Flow [Mono]
  • B: Let Your Love Flow [Stereo]

(Oct 1976)

Gene Cotton

  • A: You’ve Got Me Runnin’
  • B: You’ve Got Me Runnin’

(Oct 1976)

Gene Cotton

  • A: You’ve Got Me Runnin’
  • B: It’s Over Goodbye

(Mar 1977)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Rain On [Mono]
  • B: Rain On [Stereo]

(Jun 1977)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Sweet Destiny [Mono]
  • B: Sweet Destiny [Stereo]

Ariola Americana Records

(Jan 1978)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Before My Heart Finds Out
  • B: Like A Sunday In Salem

(Jun 1978)

Gene Cotton With Kim Carnes

  • A: You’re A Part Of Me

Gene Cotton

  • B: Shine On (You Got To Shine On Your Light)

(Sep 1978)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Like A Sunday In Salem (The Amos And Andy Song)
  • B: Shine On (You Got To Shine On Your Light)

(Sep 1978)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Like A Sunday In Salem (The Amos And Andy Song) [Stereo]
  • B: Like A Sunday In Salem (The Amos And Andy Song) [Mono]

(Nov 1979)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Ocean Of Life
  • B: Michael

Knoll Records

(Oct 1981)

Gene Cotton

  • A: Bein’ Here With You Tonight
  • B: Stay

(Feb 1982)

Gene Cotton

  • A: If I Could Get You (Into My Life)
  • B: Rained On Before

(Feb 1982)

Gene Cotton

  • A: If I Could Get You (Into My Life)
  • B: Rained On Before

DR Records

Gene Cotton

  • A: I Will Teach God’s People
  • B: Sunday School Teacher Song

Final Thought

The life and career of Gene Cotton have undoubtedly left a mark on the music industry. Gene paved his way to the top with his unique style and beautiful voice. Despite facing various issues in his career, Gene Cotton became an icon that inspired many. Today, he is still known and celebrated as among the best musicians of his time.

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