70s Music

The Life and Music of Singer-Songwriter Tom T. Hall

Tom T. Hall

 

Introduction to Tom T. Hall

Thomas “Tom T.” Hall (born in 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky) is a Grammy Award-winning country singer-songwriter who is now retired from active performing. During the 70s music era he had his only Top 20 pop hit with “I Love,” which has now become an oldies music classic.

He had an earlier stint in the Army during the 1960s, and during his time there he was already writing songs and performed over the Armed Forces Radio Network. He moved on to become a disc jockey on two local radio stations in Virginia. His first break as a songwriter came when country singer Jimmy C. Newman recorded a song Hall penned “DJ for a Day.” Hall moved to Nashville, Tennessee soon after to establish his recording career, and scored several Top 10 country hits both as songwriter and performer. As a songwriter, Hall scored his biggest success when Jeannie C. Riley recorded a song he wrote, “Harper Valley PTA” which topped both the pop and country charts in 1968. As a recording artist, Hall’s biggest hit was 1973’s “I Love” which crossed over to the Top 20 pop chart and a country chart-topping hit. His songs have also been recorded by other artists such as Dave Dudley, Johnny Wright, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Billy Grammer, Bobbi Martin, King Curtis, Ben Colder, Dee Mullins, Bobby Bare, Norro Wilson, George Kent, Patti Page, Johnny Rodriguez, Jud Strunk, George Jones, Alan Jackson and Deryl Dodd. Because of his inestimable contributions to country music, Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2008.

 

Who is Tom T. Hall?

The American country songwriter, singer, novelist and short-story writer Tom T. Hall was born Thomas Hall on May 25, 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky. When he was young he formed the band called the Kentucky Travelers who used to play in theaters before the movie is about to start. One of his early stage debut was at the Armed Forces Radio Network where he came up with comical songs based on his experiences in the army. In the early 1960’s, Hall also worked as a disc jockey on some local radio stations in West Virginia like WRON and WSPZ (later WVRC).

 

Hall’s successful musical years

Throughout Hall’s career, he was more established as a songwriter rather than a singer. His songwriting career started to click when country singer Jimmy C. Newman recorded his composition “DJ for a Day.” Bringing along a guitar and pocket money worth $46, Hall relocated to Nashville in 1964 where he started to pen songs for country artists like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Bobby Bare and Alan Jackson. Not long thereafter, his songs were rapidly climbing the charts.

 

 

 

 

 

Hall had his most successful composition in 1968 with “Harper Valley PTA.” Recorded by Jeannie Riley, it peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and after a week, it also topped the Billboard Country Music chart as well. The record sold over six million copies and earned awards from the Grammy and CMA. Hall’s second big hit came in 1973 with “I Love,” which made to the pop and country music charts at #12 and #1 respectively. Among of his hits are “The Year Clayton Delaney Died” (#42 pop, #1 country), “Little Bitty” (#58 pop, #1 country), “That Song is Driving Me Crazy” #63 pop, #2 country), “Faster Horses” (#1 country), “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)” (#86 pop, #1, country) and “I Care” (#1 country) to name a few.

 

Hall’s later years and recognitions

In 1971, Hall became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In 1973, Hall won a Grammy award for the Best Album Notes category for his album Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits. The next year he was nominated in the same category (for his album Greatest Hits Volume 2) but he lost. Hall became a host for two years (1980 to 1982) on the syndicated country music TV show Pop! Goes the Country.

Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on February 12, 2008.

 

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