Sonny James

Born May 1, 1928

James Loden, known professionally as Sonny James, is an American country music singer and songwriter best known for his 1957 hit, "Young Love". Dubbed the Southern Gentleman, James had 72 country and pop chart hits from 1953 to 1983, including a five-year streak of 16 straight among his 23 No. 1 hits. Twenty-one of his albums reached the country top ten from 1964 to 1976. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Sonny James.


1928 Birth James Hugh Loden was born on May 1, 1928 to Archie Lee 'Pop' Loden and Della Burleson Loden, who operated a 300 acre (120 ha) farm outside Hackleburg, Alabama. … Read More


1950 22 Years Old 1 More Event
During the summer of 1950, James worked with a band, sometimes singing but he was most useful as a guitar player on the Memphis, Tennessee radio station WHBQ.
1955 27 Years Old …  He also appeared on radio, including Big D Jamboree, before moving to the all-important new medium, television, where he became a regular performer on ABC's Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri beginning in October 1955. … Read More
1956 28 Years Old In late 1956 James released "Young Love", a 45 rpm single for which he would forever be remembered. … Read More
1957 29 Years Old In July 1957 Sonny married Doris Shrode in Dallas, Texas. … Read More


1962 34 Years Old In 1962 he returned to his roots and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a year later signed again with Capitol Records.
1964 36 Years Old 1 More Event
From 1964 to 1972 he was a dominant force in country music. … Read More
1967 39 Years Old 1 More Event
Beginning in 1967 with "Need You" and ending with "Here Comes Honey Again" in 1971, James recorded 16 straight #1 country singles. … Read More


1969 41 Years Old In 1969, Billboard magazine named Sonny James Country Music's Artist of the Year.
1971 43 Years Old In February 1971, James was the first country artist whose music went into space; he made a special music recording for the crew of Apollo 14. … Read More
1973 45 Years Old In 1973, James produced Marie Osmond’s first three albums. … Read More


2006 78 Years Old On November 6, 2006, he appeared on television for the first time in nearly 20 years when presenter Kris Kristofferson announced on the ABC television network's Country Music Association Awards that Sonny was to be one of its newest inductees. … Read More
2007 79 Years Old In May 2007, Sonny James and his Southern Gentlemen were officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum,
2009 81 Years Old 1 More Event
During the April 25, 2009 festival, he recognized the 100th birthday of the town of Hackleburg on the main stage.
2015 87 Years Old On August 15, 2015, exactly 51 years to the day when he first teamed up with The Southern Gentlemen in 1964, James was inducted into The Birmingham Record Collectors Hall of Fame. … Read More
2016 88 Years Old James died on February 22, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 87. … Read More
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