Gary Morris

Last updated
Gary Morris
Birth nameGary Gwyn Morris
Born (1948-12-07) December 7, 1948 (age 70)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Origin North Richland Hills, Texas
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer, actor
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1981present
Labels
Associated acts

Gary Gwyn Morris (born December 7, 1948) is an American singer and stage actor who charted a string of hits on the country music charts throughout the 1980s.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Contents

Morris is known for the 1983 ballad "The Wind Beneath My Wings", although his credits include more than twenty-five other chart singles on the Billboard country charts, including five No. 1 hits. He has also released nine studio albums, mostly in the country pop vein, with his 1983 album Why Lady Why having earned a gold certification from the RIAA.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Country pop is a fusion genre of country music and pop music that was developed by members of the country genre out of a desire to reach a larger, mainstream audience. By producing country songs that employed many styles and sounds found in pop music, the country music industry was effective in gaining new listeners without alienating its traditional country audience. Country pop music is often known for genres like rock, pop, and country combined. It is a continuation of similar efforts that began in the late 1950s originally known as Nashville sound and later on Countrypolitan. By the mid-1970s, many country artists were transitioning to the pop-country sound which led to some records charting high on mainstream top 40 as well as country Billboard charts.

Early life

Morris has two siblings, a twin sister (Carey) and younger brother, Mark. Even though Morris was best known for pop-oriented hits in the 1980s, he was descended from a long line of traditional country singers, who sang hard-twang country and also gospel.

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.

Gary's family moved from Fort Worth, Texas to North Richland Hills, Texas in the late 1950s. [1] While in the third grade, Morris and his sister won a talent show after singing their rendition of the pop hit "This Old House," originally popularized by Rosemary Clooney. Morris, a good athlete, played four sports at Richland High School, which led to a scholarship with Cisco Junior College in Texas. It was during college that singing became Morris's chosen vocation, and he decided to move to Colorado. He and his two friends formed a trio, and asked a Colorado Springs bartender if they could get up on the bandstand and perform a few songs, and the audience's response (and tips) convinced Morris to put his college plans on hold and to pursue a performing career. [2]

Fort Worth, Texas City in Texas, United States

Fort Worth is the 15th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. It is the county seat of Tarrant County, covering nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) into four other counties: Denton, Johnson, Parker and Wise. According to the 2017 census estimates, Fort Worth's population is 874,168. The city is the second-largest in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which is the 4th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

North Richland Hills, Texas City in Texas, United States

North Richland Hills is a city inside Tarrant County, Texas, United States, and a mid-to-high end suburb of Fort Worth. The population was 63,343 at the 2010 census, making it the third largest city in Tarrant County. In 2006, North Richland Hills was selected as one of the "Top 100 Best Places to live in America" according to Money magazine and in 2016, the Dallas Morning News ranked North Richland Hills #9 on its list of best Dallas-Fort Worth neighborhoods. Major streets and highways include FM 1938, Mid Cities Boulevard, Bedford-Euless Road, Interstate Highway 820, North Tarrant Parkway, FM 3029 and TX SH 26. It is home to the Birdville Independent School District and the northern portion is served by Keller ISD.

This Old House is an American home improvement media brand with television shows, a magazine and a website, ThisOldHouse.com. The brand is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. The television series airs on the American television network Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and follows remodeling projects of houses over a number of weeks. This Old House is produced by This Old House Ventures, Inc. with WGBH Boston as the PBS distributing station. Warner Bros. Domestic Television distributes the series to commercial television stations in syndication. Time Inc. launched This Old House magazine in 1995, focusing on home how-to, know-how and inspiration.

In the early 1970s, Morris made a living by singing in nightclubs in Denver, Colorado. He also wrote a few commercial jingles for Frontier Airlines. In 1976, Morris signed on with Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign and sang at fundraisers during Carter's campaign. This job led to Morris' performing at the White House following Carter's election. In the audience was Nashville country music producer Norro Wilson, to whom Morris later gave a demo tape. Wilson liked what he heard, and soon signed Morris to his label Warner Bros. Records.

Advertising form of communication for marketing, typically paid for

Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are typically businesses wishing to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser pays for and has control over the message. It differs from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising or direct mail; and new media such as search results, blogs, social media, websites or text messages. The actual presentation of the message in a medium is referred to as an advertisement, or "ad" or advert for short.

Frontier Airlines is an American ultra low-cost carrier headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The eighth-largest commercial airline in the US, Frontier Airlines operates flights to over 100 destinations throughout the United States and six international destinations, and employs more than 3,000 air-travel professionals. The carrier is a subsidiary and operating brand of Indigo Partners, LLC, and maintains a hub at Denver International Airport with numerous focus cities across the US. In August 2018, Frontier began connecting passengers with Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris under a codeshare agreement.

Jimmy Carter 39th president of the United States

James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A Democrat, he previously served as a Georgia State senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Carter has remained active in public life during his post-presidency, and in 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.

Recording career

Morris signed his recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1980. After a pair of minor hits landed just inside the top 40 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, he scored his breakthrough hit with "Headed for a Heartache"; that song reached No. 8 on the country chart in late 1981. Two follow-up singles also reached the top 15.

Hot Country Songs Weekly chart published by Billboard

Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.

Morris' 1983 album, Why Lady Why focused more on ballads. One of the album's four singles was "Wind Beneath My Wings," which showcased Morris' soaring tenor. Written by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar, the song about heroes — which Morris recorded as a ballad — became one of the earliest hit versions of the song; a better-known version by Bette Midler would top the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. The Why Lady Why album also featured the ballad "The Love She Found in Me," the mid-tempoed "Velvet Chains" and the up-tempoed title track as singles; all of them peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Also during this time, Morris recorded a duet with Lynn Anderson called "You're Welcome to Tonight," which became a top 10 hit.

After two more top 10 hits in 1984 — "Between Two Fires" and "Second Hand Heart" — Morris scored his first No. 1 country hit in March 1985 with "Baby Bye Bye." During what was his most prolific hitmaking part of his career, Morris had three more solo No. 1 hits during the next two years: "I'll Never Stop Loving You," "100% Chance of Rain" and "Leave Me Lonely." He also recorded a chart-topping duet with Crystal Gayle, "Makin' Up For Lost Time (The Dallas Lovers Song)." Although he rarely saw any success outside country music, many of Morris' hit songs were in the pop-country vein during the height of his career.

Morris had two more hits in 1987: the solo "Plain Brown Wrapper" and another duet with Gayle called "Another World." The latter song was used for many years as the theme for the NBC soap opera. After that, Morris' success on the country charts began to fade, as tastes switched once again to neo-traditional country music. Morris later opened a music publishing office in Nashville, with one of his employees being future star Faith Hill. [3]

In early 2008, Morris released two Gospel CDs. His most recent CD is called, "Faith and Freedom," dedicated to the military troops. Gary Morris performed two songs featured on Juice Newton's album Duets: Friends & Memories, which was released in October 2010.

Acting career

Morris took a break from touring to pursue a serious acting career. One of his first big roles was in the Broadway production of Les Misérables, as Jean Valjean. The full symphonic recording of Les Misérables is a platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning album and features Morris' vocals throughout in the role of Valjean, including his version of the song "Bring Him Home." [4] Morris has also appeared in a production of Puccini's opera La Boheme with fellow country/pop singer Linda Ronstadt.

In the 1980s, he did a stint on The Colbys as a blind country music singer signed to Dominique Deveraux's label.

In the 1990s, he spent a great deal of time working on music projects, such as the PBS special concert production, in Moscow, Russia, in the famous Tretyakov Gallery. He returned to country music in the 1990s, performing in concerts and as a record producer. Morris hosted and also produced the Nashville network's The North American Sportsman.

Discography

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References

    • North Richland Hills, Tex. : CitiCable, [1986]NRH profiles [DVD], Arlita W. Hallam interview.
  1. Gary Morris Biography at All Music
  2. Williams, Janet E. (1998). "Faith Hill". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 240.
  3. Gary Morris biography at his official website Archived 2006-12-06 at the Wayback Machine .