From his family’s farm in beloved Hackleburg, Alabama; Sonny’s earliest years formed his rich musical style & talents as the youngest performing member of “The Loden Family”. As opportunities arise his career begins to take shape when suddenly Uncle Sam calls him to Korea. Review each of the following pictures and captions to witness the beginnings of the man who would become a country music legend… Sonny James, The Southern Gentleman.
After returning from Korea, Sonny & roommate Chet Atkins begin spending time playing instruments and sharing songs. Chet soon introduces Sonny to Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson. As with many young careers, the 1950’s offer a series of hits and misses while others frequently cover Sonny’s original recordings. Although the early ’50s will be a time of great learning, Sonny will end this decade as a nationally recognized recording star on the brink of his journey to becoming one of the most played artists of all time.
The 1960’s & 70’s
As an honored member of the Grand Ole Opry’s 1962 “Cast of Legends”; during the early ’60s, the Opry stage will provide him with a strong foundation which mirrors his true musical style. No words can accurately express the heights at which the career of Sonny James will rise during the subsequent 20 years except to repeat what one biographer expresses as “Country music history verifies his achievements”.
1980’s & Beyond
By the mid 1980’s Sonny had decided it was time to abidingly be at the side of Doris. From that point forward, they both began spending time with all their lifelong friends. To this very day, Sonny & Doris continually travel to visit with friends & family while also making appearances to receive awards and recognition for his extraordinary musical career.
|Sonny signing autographs following one of his many appearances.|
|One of Sonny's favorite personal performance photos while truly enjoying himself on stage.|
|He was the third inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame – 1987.|
View Alabama Music Hall Of Fame.
|The James’ and the Arnolds enjoy an evening of entertainment. Sonny, wife Doris, Sally and Eddy Arnold.|
|He treasures his longtime friendship with Hall of Famer Little Jimmy Dickens.|
|Sonny James & Minnie Pearl.|
|The “OAKS” (The Oakridge Boys) drop by for a visit during one of Sonny’s recording sessions. Note the Boy Scout uniforms, a cause they are interested in.|
|Sonny James & The Jordanaires. Their great voices accompanied those of Sonny's Southern Gentleman on eight releases in 1969 and 1970. Those recordings are It's Just A Matter of Time (#1), You're The Reason I'm Living, What Am I Living For, Traces, Waterloo, Happiness Bound, Don't Keep Me Hanging On (#1), and Woodbine Valley. Pictured far-left is Duane West who as a longtime original member of the Southern Gentlemen joined the Jordanaires in 1982 until 1999 making him the third-longest member of the Jordanaires and whose vocal contributions can be heard on countless classic recordings.|
|Sonny never fails to express his admiration for both these men and their talents. Here with wife Doris, Ricky Skaggs and popular radio personality Eddie Stubbs.|
|Clowning it up with good friend Dottie West.|
|Fishing the deep clear lakes and reservoirs in the Tennessee mountains and his home state of Alabama is Sonny’s favorite pastime. He believes this relaxation is un-equaled.|
Hear a live performance audio clip from the Grand Ole Opry in 1965 when - even then - Sonny was asked about his fishing.:
|To all of James’ fishing friends who practice “catch and release”, this nice string of bass was only out of the water long enough to make this picture. They’re all back with their families and await your visit to Tennessee.|
|Sonny, hold’em up a little closer to the camera!!! – with the help of the photographer, you can say they are ten pound'ers.|
| June, 2001|
MALE GOLDEN VOICE AWARD
Golden Voice Awards
| November, 2001|
MASTER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.
|COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTION: A photo for the ages... Three men whose talents, recordings & achievements are legendary. Three men, who share a common simple faith in God, Hope, Family & Friends.|
Sonny James - George Strait - Harold Bradley
View all photos from this historic occasion.
|Sonny and Doris with Mel Tillis at the 2007 Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville on Oct. 28th.|
|Charlie Louvin and Sonny enjoying some time to visit during a Hall Of Fame reception.|
|Sonny with David McCormick and Bud Wendell following the Induction of Jean Shepard into the Hall Of Fame.|
|Always active, Sonny certainly enjoys supporting the recording industry whenever possible.|
|Sonny visiting with C. Brian Jasper. Co-writer and dear friend of over 30 years. Sonny & Brian wrote many songs together.|
|While attending the 2013 CMHOF Medallion Ceremony for the induction of Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare and Jack Clement on Sunday, October 27th, Barry Gibb & Sonny came together as friends on the stage after the fabulous ceremony had ended with great admiration and appreciation of each others music, careers, common friends, and musical mentors to enjoy a few private moments. Left to right are Sonny James - Barry Gibb - Greg Robble.|
View more about Barry Gibb & Sonny James.
The Southern Gentlemen
In the early 1960’s Sonny developed a rich vocal sound which was accented by the harmony & vocal style of his “Southern Gentlemen”. As a part of both his recordings & national touring appearances, the subsequent music, which received legendary sales and radio play from this collaboration, is a direct result of the efforts of each of the following talents.
Country Music Hall Of Fame Medallion Ceremony
May 6th, 2007 Medallion Ceremony: A Musical Tribute To Sonny James
- “A World of Our Own”: Connie Smith, vocals. Dann Huff, acoustic guitar
- “Your the Only World I Know”: Randy Owen, vocals.
- “Young Love”: Vince Gill, vocals & guitar.
- “Running Bear”: Ray Stevens, vocals. With Special Appearance by George Lindsey.
- All Performances Featuring the Southern Gentlemen: Lin Bown • Jack Galloway • Glenn Huggins • Gary Robble