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Nashville Songwriters Foundation

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Alton Delmore

Induction Year: 1971

Birth Name: Will Alton Delmore
Birth Date: December 25, 1908
Place of Birth: Elkmont, AL
Deceased: June 09, 1964
Place of Death: Huntsville, AL


Former Occupations:

High School--Decatur

Discography / Career Highlights

Career Milestones:
c. 1925 - Alton's first song written at age 13, "Bound For the Shore" (co-written with his mother) published by Athens Music Co.
c. 1929 - Delmore Brothers first public appearance at Clements High School in West Limestone County, Alabama
1930 - the brothers won a fiddling contest at Athens Agricultural High School; introduced "Brown's Ferry Blues"; performance led to a recording contract with Columbia Records
1931 - first recording session for Columbia; cut "I've Got the Kansas City Blues" and "Alabama Lullaby" which became their theme song
1931 - joined the Grand Ole Opry
1933 - first releases on Bluebird label
1934 - moved to Nashville; landed a morning radio show on WSM
1938 - left the Grand Ole Opry
1938-1940 - traveled with a string band up the East Coast
1940 - accepted a job with WAPI in Birmingham where they were given their own program and musical autonomy
1940 - first Decca releases
1942 - moved to Cincinnati to join the Boone County Jamboree at station WLW; it was there that they formed the gospel quartet Brown's Ferry Four (Alton, Rabon, Merle Travis and Grandpa Jones)
1944 - Alton helped to start King Records
1945 - first Brown's Ferry Four releases
1946 - landed a morning show at WMC in West Memphis, AK; met harmonica player Wayne Raney who inspired the brothers to start experimenting with "boogie" style of blues playing in their songs
1949 - went to KWHN (Ft. Smith, Arkansas) where they began All-Night Singings; also recorded "Blues Stay Away From Me", one of the first and earliest collaborations between white country and black music (with the Delmores, Wayne Raney, and Henry Glover)
1951 - temporary breakup of the brothers
1951 - first television appearance on KPRC in Houston, Texas
1951 - reunited in March; last personal appearance at the Roosevelt Lounge in Detroit
1952 - last Delmore Brothers recordings (on King), "The Trail of Time" and "I Needed You"
1956 - Acme Releases of Alton and Brown's Ferry Four

1951 - BMI\Citation of Achievement\Beautiful Brown Eyes
1987 - Alabama Country Music Association Hall of Fame induction
1989 - Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction
2001 - Country Music Hall of Fame induction

Catalog Highlights:
"Bound For the Shore" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Brown's Ferry Blues" - Artists: Delmore Brothers, Tennessee Ernie Ford

"Blues Stay Away From Me" - Co-writer: Wayne Raney, Henry Glover - Artists: Delmore Brothers, Asleep at the Wheel, Eddie Crosby, Owen Bradley Quintet, Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck

"Beautiful Brown Eyes"  - Artists: Rosemary Clooney, Jimmy Wakely, Bing Crosby, Chet Atkins

"Alabama Lullaby" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Trail of Time" - Artists: John Anderson

"Tennessee Choo Choo" - "Pan American Boogie" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Gonna Lay Down My Ole Guitar" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Big River Blues"  - Artists: Delmore Brothers, Sweethearts of the Rodeo

"Midnight Special" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Ole Mountain Dew" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Going Back to the Blue Ridge Mountains" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Freight Train Boogie" - Artists: Delmore Brothers, Whitstein Brothers

"Hillbilly Boogie" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Mobile Boogie" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"There's a Page in the Bible"  - Artists: Brown's Ferry Four

"There's More Pretty Girls Than One" - Writers: Alton Delmore, W. Smith - Artists: Delmore Brothers, Hylo Brown

"Born to Be Blue" - Writer: Rabon Delmore - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Field Hand Man" - Co-writer: Wayne Raney - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Born to Be Blue" - Writer: Rabon Delmore - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Field Hand Man" - Co-writer: Wayne Raney - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Trouble Ain't Nothing But the Blues" - Co-writer: Wayne Raney - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Life's Too Short" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Blues You Never Lose" - Co-writer: Henry Glover - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"Please Be My Sunshine" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

"The Girl By The River" - Artists: Delmore Brothers

Alton moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1953, where he taught music until his death in 1964.
In 1963, Alton began his autobiography, "Truth Is Stranger Than Publicity", which was published in 1971 by the Country Music Foundation.
The Delmores gave Roy Acuff his first big break - they discovered him at an amateur audition and hired his band for their road show.

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