Thomas T. Hall (born May 25, 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky) is an American country music songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, novelist, and short-story writer. He has written 12 No. 1 hit songs, with 26 more that reached the Top 10, including the No. 1 international pop crossover smash "Harper Valley PTA" and the hit "I Love", which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. He became known to fans as "The Storyteller," thanks to his storytelling skills in his songwriting.
Hall was born in 1936. As a teenager, he organized a band called the Kentucky Travelers that performed before movies for a traveling theater. During a stint in the Army, Hall performed over the Armed Forces Radio Network and wrote comic songs about Army experiences. His early career included being a radio announcer at WRON, a local radio station in Ronceverte, West Virginia. Hall was also an announcer at WMOR 1330AM in Morehead, Kentucky. Hall was also an announcer at WSPZ, which later became WVRC Radio in Spencer, West Virginia, in the 1960s.
Hall's big songwriting break came in 1963, when country singer Jimmy C. Newman recorded his song, "DJ For a Day." Soon, Hall moved to Nashville, arriving in 1964 with $46 and a guitar; within months he had songs climbing the charts. Hall has been nicknamed "The Storyteller," and he has written songs for dozens of country stars, including Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, and Bobby Bare.
One of his earliest successful songwriting ventures, "Harper Valley PTA," recorded in 1968 by Jeannie C. Riley, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts a week apart, sold over six million copies, and won both a Grammy Award and CMA Award. The song would go on to inspire a motion picture and television program of the same name. Hall himself has recorded this song, on his album The Definitive Collection (as track No. 23). Hall's recording career took off after Riley's rendition of the song, releasing a number of hits from the late 1960s through the early 80s. Some of Hall's biggest hits include "A Week in a Country Jail," "(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine," "I Love," "Country Is," "The Year Clayton Delaney Died," "I Like Beer," "Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet)", and many others. He is also noted for his children-oriented songs, including "Sneaky Snake" and "I Care," the latter of which hit No. 1 on the country charts in 1975. In 1979, Hall appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 4.
Hall won the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes in 1973 for the notes he wrote for his album Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits. He was nominated for, but did not win, the same award in 1976 for his album Greatest Hits Volume 2. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1971.
Hall succeeded Ralph Emery as host of the syndicated country music TV show Pop! Goes the Country in 1980 and continued until the series ended in 1982. He also composed the theme song for Fishin' with Orlando Wilson.
His 1996 song "Little Bitty", from the album Songs from Sopchoppy, became a No. 1 single that year when it was recorded by Alan Jackson for the album Everything I Love.
In 1998 his 1972 song Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine came in second in a BBC Radio 2 poll to find the UK's favorite easy listening record, despite never having been a hit in the UK and being familiar to Radio 2 listeners mostly through occasional plays by DJ Terry Wogan.
His song "I Love", in which the narrator lists the things in life that he loves, was used, with altered lyrics, in a popular 2003 TV commercial for Coors Light, and also used in 2014 in a TV advert for Clipper Teas.
On July 3, 2007, he released the CD Tom T. Hall Sings Miss Dixie & Tom T. on his independent bluegrass label Blue Circle Records.
On June 1, 2014, Rolling Stone magazine ranked (Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine #93 in their list of the 100 greatest country songs.
In 2002, Hall was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. On February 12, 2008, Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- Tom T. Hall Discography