In 2010, I had one of the best nights of my broadcasting career, and it wasn't in a TV studio.
I was asked to be the off-stage announcer for the induction ceremony for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame at the Montgomery Civic Center. As you know by now, I enjoy music about as much as anyone could. And being backstage, behind the scenes of the Hall of Fame that night, was unforgettable.
On that night, the Hall inducted its largest class ever, one group and six individuals.
The group winner was the Blind Boys of Alabama, introduced as living legends of gospel music. During their 70-plus year career, they were given, among other awards, the Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Grammys and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Eddie Levert, best known as lead singer of the O'Jays, and who was born in Bessemer, was the first of the 2010 individual inductees. Levert and the O'Jays had hits with "Back Stabbers," "Love Train," and "For the Love of Money," which was the theme song for Donald Trump's hit TV show "The Apprentice."
Other individual musicians inducted included the late Terry Thomson of Florence, who worked as a studio guitarist playing on hits like Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On."
Paul Hornsby, who was born and raised near New Brockton, played with Duane and Gregg Allman after "The Allman Joys" broke up and a new band was formed as "Hour Glass." Later in his career, he produced The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band and Wet Willie from Mobile.
The late Jerry Carrigan played on his first recording session when he was only 13. By the time he was 22 he had "grown up in the studio" in Muscle Shoals and moved on to Nashville where he drummed on sessions with the likes of Charlie Rich, Ray Stevens, Charlie Pride, George Jones and many more stars on the RCA label.
Retired Alabama state senator Bobby Denton, along with writer/producer Buddy Buie, rounded out the class of 2010.
Denton started his singing career as a teenager and was successful enough to earn an appearance on American Bandstand with his regional hits "Sweet and Innocent" and "Back to School."
The bulk of our conversation today has to do with the induction of an Alabama music maker with rare talents, Buddy Buie.
I was delighted when I was told that Buddy, who was from Dothan, was to be inducted. I got a chance to visit with Buddy before the festivities began, catching up on his long and successful career and mutual friends we had in the wiregrass area of the state.
Buddy managed "The Webs" in high school. Bobby Goldsboro, also of Dothan, was a guitar player with the band. Bobby and Buddy enrolled in Auburn University 60 years ago ... but that didn't last past the first year.
The Webs were hired as the backup band for Roy Orbison and became known as "The Candymen" from the title of one of Roy's biggest, early hits. Buddy was Orbison's road manager on tours that included opening for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. While not touring or in the studio, Roy was sighted numerous times eating at Buie's Restaurant in Dothan, which was owned by Buddy's mom and dad, and operated with help from his brother Jerry.
After the early career successes with the Webs and The Candymen, Buddy cashed in big (in terms of hits) with a band out of Jacksonville, Florida, The Classics (the IV was added later) with front man Dennis Yost. With the IV in place and former members of the Candymen playing in the new Classics IV, Buddy and co-writer J.R. Cobb had a string of hits that included "Spooky," "Traces," "Stormy," "Everyday With You Girl," and more.
Then came another round of hits with The Atlanta Rhythm Section, which Buie formed using several of the Classics IV's players. They had made up the house band at Studio One, Buddy's recording studio in Doraville, Georgia. ARS had more hits for Buddy, who was managing and producing the group. He wrote and the band recorded "So Into You," "Imaginary Lover," "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight," and other hits.
In the 80s and 90s, Buddy wrote country hits for Wynonna Judd, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt and others.
To say that Buddy was a prolific writer/co-writer would be an understatement. In his career, Buddy was responsible for 340 songs in the BMI publishing catalogue.
Sadly, that career came to a close when Perry Carlton "Buddy" Buie died just outside Eufaula on July 18, 2015. He was 74.
If you are a true fan, there's a great book out telling the story of one of Buddy's groups entitled "The Atlanta Rhythm Section – The Authorized History" by Willie Moseley. In it you'll find out the backstory of Buddy's career with detailed information about the men and women who were fortunate enough to have made music with Buddy. It also includes a touching forward written by Gloria Buie, Buddy's wife. I received a copy for my birthday and have found it to be fascinating.
You might find it fascinating, too.