Felice & Boudleaux BryantOne of the most productive songwriting partnerships of our time began at an elevator in Milwaukee's Schroeder Hotel. It was the Spring of 1945 and the elevator operator was 19-year-old Matilda Genevieve Scaduto. While working, she struck up a conversation with a visiting musician from Georgia named Boudleaux Bryant. After five days, Boudleaux and Matilda ran off together.
THE MARRIAGE THAT BECAME A HIT FACTORY
For the next 30 years, as the husband and wife team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, they went on to become one of the most successful songwriting teams ever. They produced hits for Tony Bennett, Eddy Arnold, Ruth Brown, Roy Orbison, Carl Smith, Charley Pride, Buddy Holly, Jim Reeves, Leo Sayer, Christy Lane, Joe Stampley and Moe Bandy and - most memorably - the Everly Brothers.
The song "Bye Bye Love" was written by the Bryants. So were such Everly hits as "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Problems", "Bird Dog," "Poor Jenny," "Like Strangers" and "Wake Up Little Susie."
Other Bryant compositions include "Love Hurts" and the University of Tennessee's theme song, "Rocky Top." Altogether it's estimated that the songs of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant have sold 300 million records. The couple has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the National Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Phil Everly, who should know as well as anybody, puts their contributions in context:
"They were masters," Everly says. "Boudleaux was a great philosophic teacher. Anybody would be a fool not to watch how they did it. That's the level that you wanted to be at. I learned more from them than from anybody."
Boudleaux passed away in 1987 and Felice passed away in 2003 in Gatlinburg, TN, where she and her husband owned and operated the Rocky Top Village Inn.