Sonny James
American musician
Sonny James
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.
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Sonny James, Country Singer Known for ‘Young Love,’ Dies at 87
NYTimes - 12 months
A genial crooner of the 1960s and ’70s nicknamed the Southern Gentleman, Mr. James had 26 No.­1 country hits to his credit.
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NYTimes article
Country singer Sonny James dies at age 87
LATimes - 12 months
Country singer Sonny James, who recorded romantic ballads including "Young Love" and turned pop songs into country hits, has died. He was 87. James died Monday in a Nashville hospice facility, according to a family friend, Gary Robble, who was the lead singer of James' backing band, the Southern...
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LATimes article
Obituary: Dora M. Oates, 94
Emmaus Patch - almost 5 years
Dora M. Oates, 94, formerly of Emmaus, died April 27, 2012 in her residence.  She was the widow of Albert T. Oates. Born in Constable, NY, she was the daughter of the late Rev. Trevor G. and Mary E. (Freeman) Gray. She was a homemaker and an Avon Representative for over 40 years. She was an active member of First Church of the Nazarene, Allentown, where she was involved with various areas of ministry including personal phone calls, VBS, Sunday School, and praying for others. Dora enjoyed gardening and playing the piano.  She was valedictorian of her high school class and her family was her greatest earthly treasure.     Survivors: Son, James D. Oates and wife Cynthia of Emmaus; Daughters, Dorene wife of Bruce Shannon of Catasauqua and Mary Esther wife of Robert Fey of Allentown; 9 Grandchildren and 5 Great Grandchildren.  Services: Funeral Services Wed., May 2, 2012 at 11 a.m. in First Church of the Nazarene, 938 S. 11th St., Allentown. Viewing Tue. 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Schantz ...
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Emmaus Patch article
ERHS’s “Grease” generates fun-filled fifties
Star News - almost 5 years
  by Bruce Strand, Arts editor When ERHS actors took on the challenge of bringing “Grease” to life for its spring musical, their director Michelle Brooks told them  “Go big or go home,” would be the motto. She might have added “and don’t go home until everyone’s had fun,” because gobs of fun is what the players and their audience had at opening night Friday. When  “Grease” is done well it’s hard not to have a good time what with all the peppy 50′s music, massive dance scenes, the girls’ gaily-colored poodle skirts and sweaters and big hair, the boys’ oh-so-cool black leather jackets and jeans and greasy duck-tails, and lots of little romances popping up like dandelions. The 30-member cast has clearly gone the extra mile to make the scenes as vibrant and fun as they can. Brooks commented that whenever the production team suggest a scene or dance move could be simplified, the response was, “No, it will look better to master it; we can master it.” The cast is headed by senio ...
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Star News article
For the Love of Mic: Wood 'n' Lips Newsletter
Santee Patch - almost 5 years
Stop by the Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic at Frubble every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Hey, It was a bit of a surprise when I arrived extra early to start set-up to find the parking lot full and overflowing.  It turned out that the Pathways Church next door was holding the funeral ceremonies for one of the teens killed in an accident over the weekend.  It was a very sad occasion; fortunately, by the time we started the open mic, it was over and most of the parking was available again. The reason I had arrived early was that Greg Gross was in Julian doing sound for the Julian Fiddle Festival; Bob Setzer and I were going to be running the show by ourselves.  By the time Bob arrived, I had all of the mics in place and hooked up and the speakers set up.  He was able to do the tricky wiring and get us going in a timely fashion.  I was proud of us; the set-up has evolved into quite a complicated system what with compressors, monitors and other numerous sound devices. After last week’s ligh ...
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Santee Patch article
Today in Music History - Aug. 29 - (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Among the many rock and country performers who have recorded Reed's songs are Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, "The Rolling Stones," Charlie Rich and Sonny James. In 1976, guitarist Randy California shoved Neil Young after Young came on stage during a
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Google News article
Co-accused in murder case released - Prince Albert Daily Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Fiddler is charged with accessory to murder related to the assault and subsequent death of Anthony Martin Custer last month. Cory Joseph Constant, Lionel Sydney Sewap, and Sonny James Fiddler are charged with second degree murder
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Google News article
Witness to history: Columbus native preserved the history of 10 presidents - The Commercial Dispatch
Google News - over 5 years
Tyrone James was only 6 in 1959 when Sonny James, a senior in high school, was sent north to live with their aunt. The rumbles of the Civil Rights movement were just beginning to roll through the South. It was a time, their parents believed,
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Google News article
Year of Alabama Music: Sonny James (video) - The Birmingham News - (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
By Mary Colurso -- The Birmingham News Alabama roots: Born James Loden to a musical family in Hackleburg, in the northwest part of the state. Early years: Began singing and playing at age 3. Worked on farm, performed with Loden Family and had spots on
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Google News article
Icebird: "Going And Going. And Going" (RJD2 & Illvibe Remixes) - Prefixmag
Google News - over 5 years
And they have kept it close to home as fellow City of Brotherly Love producer Mr. Sonny James, of the Illvibe Collective, and RJ himself have tackled the remixes. James has turned the rock-leaning joint into an island affair made for breezy weekend
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Google News article
Maternal duo arrested in 16-year-old murder case - Tri Parish Times
Google News - over 5 years
That was what Sonny James Guidry, now 33, told Lafourche Parish detectives after they closed in on him in El Reno, Okla., in the days leading up to his arrest last week, according to Lafourche Sheriff Craig Webre. On the afternoon of June 22, 1995,
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Google News article
Former W.H. recordskeeper dies at 71 - Politico
Google News - over 5 years
Theodoric H. “Sonny” James Jr., 71, who retired in 2009, was found dead in his home Aug. 1 by DC firefighters after his neighbors, concerned for his safety during the summer's heat wave, repeatedly phoned authorities for help
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Google News article
Mother, Son Arrested In 1995 Slaying Of Woman, 73 - WDSU New Orleans
Google News - over 5 years
Police arrested Sonny James Guidry, 33, and his mother, Diane Vining Billiot, 51, after they were returned to Louisiana late Wednesday. Sheriff Craig Webre said investigators suspected the two were involved early in the case
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Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Sonny James
  • 2016
    Age 87
    James died on February 22, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 87.
    More Details Hide Details In 1956, as rock and roll was just beginning, Sonny's multi-million selling single Young Love became a #1 country and pop hit, one of the first such crossover hits by a country artist. In 1957, James became the first country recording artist to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1961, honoring his contribution to the music industry, James was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6630 Hollywood Blvd.
  • 2015
    Age 86
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Gary Robble, one of The Southern Gentlemen, accepted the award on behalf of James and all of The Southern Gentlemen.
  • 2009
    Age 80
    In 2009 James was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details
    During the April 25, 2009 festival, he recognized the 100th birthday of the town of Hackleburg on the main stage.
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  • 2007
    Age 78
    In May 2007, Sonny James and his Southern Gentlemen were officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum,
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  • 2006
    Age 77
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Sonny's acceptance speech opened with the words, "I want to thank my Good Lord for the career He has given me."
  • 1973
    Age 44
    In 1973, James produced Marie Osmond’s first three albums.
    More Details Hide Details The first single “Paper Roses” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart less than one month after her 14th birthday. Osmond thus became the youngest female and overall youngest solo artist to ever reach the No. 1 position on that chart, a record that still stands as of 2015. In 1987, Sonny was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. In June 2001, honored with the Male Golden Voice Award. In November 2001 received the Master Achievement Award / R.O.P.E. Award. In June 2002 honored by the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and Country Radio Broadcasters with the Career Achievement Award.
  • 1971
    Age 42
    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.
    More Details Hide Details They later presented him with one of the small American flags that they had carried to the Moon.
  • 1969
    Age 40
    In 1969, Billboard magazine named Sonny James Country Music's Artist of the Year.
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  • 1967
    Age 38
    In 1967, along with Bobbi Gentry, James hosted the first CMA Awards show.
    More Details Hide Details From 1969 through 1971, Sonny became the first country artist to achieve a feat previously not done in the country music industry. In the middle of his highly successful run of sixteen consecutive #1 hits, of the next seven singles that James released, five had previously been moderately successful releases for soulful R&B artists Ivory Joe Hunter, Brook Benton & Clyde Otis and Jimmy Reed. Those five songs were Since I Met You Baby, It’s Just A Matter of Time, Endlessly, Empty Arms, and Bright Lights, Big City, all of which hit #1 on the Billboard country charts.
    Beginning in 1967 with "Need You" and ending with "Here Comes Honey Again" in 1971, James recorded 16 straight #1 country singles.
    More Details Hide Details His career #1 total was 26, the last coming with 1974's "Is It Wrong (For Loving You)". During his career had 72 charted releases. In 1973 James also helped launch the solo career of Marie Osmond, producing and arranging her first three albums, including her smash hit, "Paper Roses".
  • 1964
    Age 35
    On August 15, 1964 James made his first appearance with a vocal group that had been together for five years.
    More Details Hide Details The group consisted of Lin Bown - 1st tenor, Gary Robble - 2nd tenor, Duane West - baritone and Glenn Huggins - bass. These four young men had started singing as freshmen at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1959, and in September 1962 they transferred to a sister college in Nashville Tennessee. 16 months later in January 1964 they replaced the Jordanaires as the Grand Ole Opry quartet. James felt he finally found the combination that propelled him into his second career - that sound he had been seeking for seven years. So these young 21 and 22 year-old men, along with Sonny's multi-talented bass player Milo Liggett, became The Southern Gentlemen, joined 36-year-old Sonny James and quickly headed into country music history. Two months later, James had his first #1 Billboard hit since Young Love - topping the country charts with the song he co-wrote with Bob Tubert, You're The Only World I Know. His next five releases peaked on the Billboard country charts at 2, 1, 3, 1, and 2 (though all five of them hit #1 on either Billboard, Record World or Cashbox).
    From 1964 to 1972 he was a dominant force in country music.
    More Details Hide Details James and his Southern Gentlemen appeared on the major TV shows during that period including (Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Dean, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, The Joey Bishop Show, was a multi-time guest on Hee Haw, also on the Johnny Cash Show and made minor singing appearances in four motion pictures.
  • 1962
    Age 33
    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.
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  • 1957
    Age 28
    In July 1957 Sonny married Doris Shrode in Dallas, Texas.
    More Details Hide Details In the spring of 1984, Sonny and Doris quietly retired to their home in Nashville, Tennessee. He came home to Hackleburg during the first annual Neighbor Day Festival on April 20, 2002 and continued attending the festival every other year.
  • 1956
    Age 27
    In late 1956 James released "Young Love", a 45 rpm single for which he would forever be remembered.
    More Details Hide Details As the first teenage country crossover single, it topped both the US country and pop music charts in January to February 1957. Record sales could have been higher if Capitol Records had anticipated the exposure on popular-music charts; they had ordered only enough copies of the record to satisfy the anticipated country-music demand, and were therefore unable to supply most of the requests for records. The track peaked at No. 11 in the UK Singles Chart. It sold well over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Dubbed the Southern Gentleman because of his polite demeanor, he gained more exposure with an appearance on the popular Ed Sullivan Show and the Bob Hope Show. Thus began a seven-year search for a sound that gave him a lasting career. Two more years at Capitol Records didn't produce it and they parted ways in 1959. James signed with National Recording Corporation, and then stints with Dot (1960–1961), RCA (1961–1962), his second time with Capitol (1963–1972), and later with Columbia (1972–1979), Monument (1979) and Dimension (1981–1983).
  • 1955
    Age 26
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Following his long streak of #1 hits, James is also remembered for his 1975 #6 song "A Little Bit South of Saskatoon" that was in the 1977 Paul Newman hockey comedy Slap Shot.
  • 1950
    Age 21
    On September 9, 1950, his career was interrupted by the Korean War when his Alabama Army National Guard unit was activated.
    More Details Hide Details After military service in Korea, James moved to Nashville, where he spent a week staying with Chet Atkins and his wife. James had roomed with Atkins years earlier in Raleigh, North Carolina when they were playing at the same radio station. Atkins invited Capitol Records executive Ken Nelson to join them for dinner. James stated, "After dinner Chet and I began woodshedding on our guitars. We played a few songs I had written, then Chet turned to Ken and said, ‘What do you think, Ken?’ And Ken said, ‘I’d like to record him.’” Nelson asked him to drop his last name professionally believing there were already several musicians named Loden, Louden or Luden, and that "James" would be easier to remember: "The smallest children can remember Sonny James." So he released his first studio record as Sonny James. While appearing on Louisiana Hayride, he met musician Slim Whitman. James' 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 only two months when Whitman felt he had to do some club work to keep up his income to be able to pay his band. The Loden family had only appeared in schoolhouses and such and Sonny agreed to stay on for a few shows until Whitman could find his replacement. For the remainder of his career he never played a club performance.
    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.
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  • 1928
    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.
    More Details Hide Details His parents were amateur musicians, and his sister Thelma Lee Loden Holcombe also played instruments and sang from an early age. By age three he was playing a mandolin and singing and was dubbed "Sonny Boy". In 1933, the family appeared on a radio audition which resulted in their being offered a regular Saturday slot on Muscle Shoals, Alabama radio station WMSD-AM. About this time the parents volunteered to raise an Alabama girl named Ruby Palmer, and soon Ruby was also part of the musical group, and the singing Loden Family, later billed as Sonny Loden and the Southerners, was soon playing theaters, auditoriums and schoolhouses throughout the Southern United States. To this point the musical appearances had been a part-time effort for the family, as they returned after each gig or tour to work the family farm. After a few years the father decided they were professional enough to immerse themselves into the field full-time, so the father leased out the farm and they took a daily spot on radio station KLCN, where they provided early-morning accompaniment for the area's early-risers. After that they had spots on several other radio stations around the South. In 1949, they returned to Alabama, with a show on radio station WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama. Near Christmastime that year, the two girls were married in West Memphis, Arkansas in a double ceremony and left the group. The parents found other girls to take their place, but the group soon disbanded (the parents returned to Hackleburg and opened a clothing store, where James worked while belatedly finishing his final year of high school).
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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