Composed

BMI’s database credits Tom T. Hall with 909 published compositions, including:

  • “That’s How I Got to Memphis”
  • “(Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine”
  • “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died”
  • “Ballad of Forty Dollars”
  • “Harper Valley P.T.A.”
  • “I Love”
  • “I Care”
  • “Homecoming”
  • “Ravishing Ruby”
  • “Little Bitty”
  • “Bill Monroe For Breakfast”

Early Influences

  • Lonnie Easterling (inspiration for “Clayton Delaney,” from Hall’s famous song)
  • Bill Monroe
  • Authors Sinclair Lewis, Mark Twain, and Ernest Hemingway
  • Roanoke College

Came to Fame With

  • Tom T. Hall, 1967 —

Led the Way

  • Hall’s storytelling lyrics helped change the language of country and bluegrass music, ex-panding narrative and imagistic possibilities.
  • A prominent spokesman for and supporter of bluegrass music and the people who make and enjoy it.
  • Wrote 11 #1 country hits, 37 Top Ten country hits, and numerous other songs now regarded as masterpieces of character and narrative.
  • Nicknamed “The Storyteller” by Country Music Hall of Fame member Tex Ritter.
  • Co-founder of Good Home Grown Music and Blue Circle Records
  • IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award, 2004
  • Country Music Hall of Fame, 2008
  • IBMA Hall of Fame, 2018

By the Way

  • Composed his first song, “Haven’t I Been Good to You,” at age nine.
  • As a teenager, performed with bluegrass band The Kentucky Travelers.
  • Recorded three solo bluegrass albums (1976, 1997, and 2008) and one duo album with Earl Scruggs, The Storyteller & The Banjo Man (1982).
  • Published a memoir, The Storyteller’s Nashville, in 1979, with a revised edition published in 2017.
  • A multi-instrumentalist who played bass in a bluegrass band and often featured the banjo in his performances, Hall’s main instrument was guitar.

From the Archives

“You sit down as a person and write a song. If you’ve written a song by the time you stand back up, you’re a songwriter. But the person comes first. You can’t look at the thing from somewhere up above.”
—Quoted by Peter Cooper in Johnny’s Cash & Charley’s Pride, Spring House Press, 2017
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