Curtis, Sonny Biography

biography of Curtis, Sonny

9 May 1937, Meadow, Texas, USA
With a successful career as a singer, songwriter, musician and entertainer, Sonny Curtis is one of those rare artists who helped shape the course of American music and still plays a role in its direction today. As lead guitarist in 'Buddy Holly' (qv)'s pre-Crickets group, The Three Tunes, and later as a member of 'The Crickets' (qv), Sonny helped nurture the roots of rock 'n roll. He is also a member of Broadcast Music Incorporated's "Million Airs club," in recognition for his songs, "Walk Right Back", "More Than I Can Say", "The Straight Life" and "I Fought The Law", which have accounted for an amazing 50,000 total hours of radio airplay each. In addition, he wrote and sang one of television's best known theme songs -- "Love is All Around" -- for the immensely popular TV series _"Mary Tyler Moore" (1970)_ (qv). Also, his song "I'm No Stranger To The Rain," sung by Keith Whitley, and written with Ron Hellard, went to #1 in the Billboard charts. "I'm No Stranger To The Rain" has also achieved over one million air plays. In 1956, Sonny accompanied 'Buddy Holly' (qv) and bassist Don Guess to Nashville and, as the The Three Tunes, recorded several song for Decca Records. Not long after those Nashville sessions, he left the group to take a job playing guitar for 'Slim Whitman' (qv). In 1958 he rejoined 'The Crickets' (qv) just prior to Holly's untimely death in a plane crash. Sonny then took a job playing lead guitar with the Everly Brothers. He moved to California in 1960 and not long afterward was drafted into the army. He was stationed in France for 18 months and, although army service limited his performing career, wrote one of his classic songs during this period. The Everly Brothers recorded "Walk Right Back" and had a major hit, both in the USA and abroad. Also, while Sonny was in the military, 'Bobby Vee' (qv) recorded a song he co-wrote with Crickets drummer 'Jerry Allison' (qv), "More Than I Can Say" (later a worldwide pop hit for 'Leo Sayer' (qv)), made it to the top of the charts in America and England. In the early 1970s Curtis applied his songwriting skills to TV and radio commercials. Before he moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 1976, he wrote - with good friend and songwriting companion Don Piestrup, a composer and musician - numerous nationally known jingles for many prestigious commercial clients including McDonalds, Buick, Western Airlines, Honda, Olympia Beer, Bell Telephone and Mattel Toys. Sonny's songs run the gamut of musical styles and tastes. In the pop field, his songs have been recorded by such artists as 'Bing Crosby' (qv), 'Perry Como' (qv), 'Andy Williams (I)' (qv) and 'Sammy Davis Jr. (I)' (qv). At the other end of the spectrum, 'The Clash' (qv), 'Dead Kennedys' (qv), The Stray Cats, 'Buddy Holly' (qv), 'Ricky Nelson (I)' (qv) and 'J.J. Cale' (qv) have recorded his compositions, as have such renowned instrumentalists such as 'Chet Atkins (I)' (qv), 'Al Hirt' (qv), 'Floyd Cramer' (qv) and 'Don Tweedy' (qv). In 1991 Sonny was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association International's Hall Of Fame.
Sonny Curtis

-   A member of the original 'The Crickets' (qv), he was a prolific songwriter. Among his compositions are the theme song from _"Mary Tyler Moore" (1970)_ (qv) ("Love Is All Around"), "Walk Right Back" (a hit for 'The Everly Brothers' (qv), "More Than I Can Say" (a hit for 'Leo Sayer' (qv) and "I Fought the Law" (a hit for 'The Bobby Fuller Four' (qv),

-   (1964) Album: "Beatle Hits Flamenco Style Guitar" (El Records)

-   (1968) Album: "The 1st of Sonny Curtis" (Viva Records)

-   (1969) Album: "The Sonny Curtis Style" (Elektra Records)

-   (1979) Album: "Sonny Curtis" (Elektra Records)

-   (1980) Album: "Love Is All Around" (Elektra Records)

-   (1981) Album: "Rollin'" (Elektra Records)

-   (1987) Album: "Spectrum" (Nightlife Records)

-   (1964) Single: "A Beatle I Want To Be" / "So Used To Loving You" (Dimension Records)

-   (1963) Single: "So Used To Loving You" / "Last Song I'm Ever Gonna Sing" (Dimension Records)

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