|Birth name||Bernie Tom Collins|
|Born||May 30, 1942|
Lenoir City, Tennessee, US
|Occupation(s)||Music producer, publisher|
Bernie Tom Collins (born May 30, 1942) is an American music producer and publisher in Nashville, Tennessee who has received three CMA Awards as Producer of the Year, and seven Grammy nominations.He produced a steady stream of country music hits over a 30-year span from artists including Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Sylvia, Tom T. Hall, Jim Ed Brown, James Galway, Marie Osmond, and Steve Wariner. Collins served as chairman of the Board of the CMA in 1979 and 1980.
In 1982 alone, Collins produced four number one country hits: "Nobody" (Sylvia); "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World" and "Any Day Now" (Ronnie Milsap); and "'Till You're Gone" (Barbara Mandrell).His publishing Company, Tom Collins Music, received BMI's Robert J. Burton Award in 1983 for "Most Performed Song of the Year", "Nobody", by Sylvia. During the period from 1970 to 1990, Collins' catalog holdings grew to make him one of Nashville's most successful independent producers.
Collins was born and raised in Lenoir City, Tennessee, which lies along the Tennessee River southwest of Knoxville and is part of the Knoxville Metropolitan Area.He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and took scientific courses with the idea of attending dental school, but was always interested in music. He played trumpet in the University of Tennessee band and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He directed the fraternity's chorus in annual singing competitions. He was honored as a "Significant Sig" in 1983, a national honor given by the fraternity to notable members.
Though Collins received a Bachelor of Science degree,he was drawn to pursue a career in the business side of music. Collins moved to Nashville in 1970 and was hired at Pi-Gem Music by Jack D. Johnson. Johnson was a Nashville talent manager who, in 1964, discovered and signed singer Charley Pride, then an ex-baseball player. Pride achieved enormous success in country music, received a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Collins learned from Johnson how to handle the career of a major star.
While attending a rock music club called the "Whisky a Go Go" in 1972, Charley Pride heard a performance by Ronnie Milsap, a R&B-minded singer who impressed him. Pride spoke to Milsap, suggesting that a change of genre might help his career, and that he would make a good country singer.At that time, Milsap was living in Memphis, Tennessee and had been performing for about three years at a nightclub called "T.J.'s". He had already landed two or three record deals, but had enjoyed little success and was frustrated about a lack of progress in his career. Tom Collins heard Milsap perform in Memphis and offered a proposal, entailing Milsap moving to Nashville, embracing country music, signing with a new label, and the potential of booking a Nashville venue for live performances. Collins would produce the recordings, Jerry Bradley would sign him to the RCA record label, and Jack Johnson would be his manager. To do so, Milsap had to buy his way out of an existing management contract. Milsap stated, "I lost my house, everything I had worked for, and was $20,000 in debt. I came to Nashville broke, busted and in high spirits that I could make something of myself".
In 1973, after Milsap's acceptance of the offer, Collins produced a single consisting of "(All together Now) Let's Fall Apart" on the A-side, and "I Hate You" on the B-side.These songs were released on an album called "Where My Heart Is" – Milsap's first album to chart, reaching #5 on the Billboard country charts. In 1975, Collins and Johnson won CMA's Producer of the year award for their collaboration on this recording. From this point, Collins became the sole producer of scores of Milsap's hits, a relationship which lasted many years. Of Collins, Milsap said, "He knows me. He knows when to push and when to lay back". Collins, partnering with Charley Pride, bought Pi-Gem song publishing. Pi-Gem Music was sold to Welk Music Group in 1981, after which Collins formed his own company, "Tom Collins Music, Inc.". Some of the top songwriters at Pi-Gem went with Collins in his new endeavor, notably Grammy-nominated writers Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan.
It was an advantage for Collins to have the Fleming/Morgan writers working with him on a daily basis. Fleming stated, "If he's cut a couple of songs on somebody and all of a sudden he says we need a song that's 'more country' than this, or 'more pop' or whatever to fill out an album, then he can tell us."Not only could Collins custom tailor the songs to each artist, but the writers benefited because their creations were then much more likely to be recorded by established artists. In the summer of 1980, Collins told his writers he wanted a new song for Ronnie Milsap that featured the region of western North Carolina where Milsap was born and raised. He suggested "Appalachian Rain" as a possible title. Fleming and Morgan decided to let the geographical spot be an image that would stimulate the imagination of the listener, without a lot of detail, reminiscent of Jimmy Webb's song "Wichita Lineman".
The song ultimately produced was "Smoky Mountain Rain" – one of Milsap's signature songs and a number one hit on both the country charts and the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. Rolling Stone listed it as one of the "100 Greatest Country Songs of all Time"."Smoky Mountain Rain" was chosen by the Tennessee State Legislature in 2010 as the eighth official state song. This was only one of Milsap's 40 number one hits produced by Tom Collins, which also include: "What a Difference You've Made in My Life", "Daydreams About Night Things", "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)", "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World", "She Keeps the Home Fires Burning", "It Was Almost Like a Song", "Stranger in My House", "Pure Love", and "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me".
In the mid-1970s, future Hall of Famer Barbara Mandrell had had some successful songs but wanted something more. She became a client of Collins, changed labels, and things began to improve.In 1975, Collins produced her first top five record with the single "Standing Room Only". Collins steered her to a more commercial "pop" sound, sometimes referred to as "countrypolitan". Collins stated, "we created our own sound and style with Barbara Mandrell ... she is country ... but she is selling in almost every market existing, having hit Billboard's Soul, Country, Pop, and Easy Listening charts.". Collins also said that country music tends run in cycles between more traditional sound and more pop and that "you need to stay just a half-step ahead of the trend".
Mandrell's first number one hit was "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed", written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan and produced by Collins in 1978. The same writing duo, with Collins as producer, followed with two additional number one country charts hits in 1980 and 1981: "Years" and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool".Collins produced 19 albums for Mandrell.
In January 1976, Collins hired Sylvia Jane Hutton (née Kirby) as his receptionist, then in her 20s. Prior to moving to Nashville from Kokomo, Indiana, she aspired to be a singer and practiced singing into a deodorant bottle "microphone" in front of a mirror.She repeatedly asked Collins if she could make a record for him. She was 35 pounds overweight at 5' 5", wore no makeup, and had a history of surviving on a diet of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and cornflakes.
Collins was initially unimpressed with her singing, but decided to give her a chance if she would agree to lose some weight.He let her sing on some demo sessions and began to see developing potential, saying, "She knew what she was going to have to give to be a success". He helped her secure a recording contract with RCA. Kirby chose to appear professionally only by her first name, Sylvia, and recorded her first album, Drifter , in 1981. The title song went to number one.
Three other songs from "Drifter" reached the top 10: "The Matador" (#7), "Heart on the Mend" (#8) and "Tumbleweed" (#10). Her second album, Just Sylvia , featured the song "Nobody" which rose to number one on the country charts and was a crossover hit which reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and was awarded BMI's Song of the Year for receiving more radio air play than any other song that year.She was named Female Vocalist of the Year for 1982 by the Academy of Country Music.
Collins acquired the song catalog of Tom T. Hall in 1991. In 1999 he sold Tom Collins Music, Hallnote Music, and Collins Court Music to Acuff-Rose Publications. As of 2015, all songs under the umbrella of these catalogs belong to Sony/ATV Music Publishing.Collins retired from the music business, and, as of 2015, was pursuing several hobbies including tennis and collecting art.
Ronnie Lee Milsap is an American country music singer and pianist.
Sylvia Jane Hutton, also known mononymously as Sylvia, is an American country music and country pop singer and songwriter. Her biggest hit, was her single "Nobody" in 1982. It reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 5 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 9 on the Cashbox Top 100, and number 1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. The song earned her a gold record certification and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Her other country chart hits include "Drifter", "Fallin' in Love", "Tumbleweed" and "Snapshot". She was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music for 1982. She is also credited with making the first "concept" music video clip to air on Country Music Television (CMT), with "The Matador".
This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in the year 1981.
Thelma Louise Mandrell is an American country music singer. She is the younger sister of fellow country singer Barbara Mandrell, and older sister of actress Irlene Mandrell. Louise had a successful singing career in country music from the 1970s, with a string of hits during the 1980s.
Colleen Susan Peterson was a Canadian country and folk singer, who performed both as a solo artist and as a member of the band Quartette.
Kent Marshall Robbins was an American country music songwriter.
Dennis Morgan is an American songwriter and music publisher, best known for writing songs for Aretha Franklin, Faith Hill, Barbara Mandrell, and Eric Clapton. He has also published hit songs by Garth Brooks, All-4-One, Feargal Sharkey, and Trisha Yearwood.
"Smoky Mountain Rain" is a song written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan, and recorded by American country music singer Ronnie Milsap. It was released in September 1980 as the first and only single from his Greatest Hits compilation album. The single became one of his best-known songs.
"I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" is a song written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan, and recorded by American country music artist Barbara Mandrell. It was released in April 1981 as lead single from the album Barbara Mandrell Live. It featured an uncredited guest appearance by country artist George Jones. The song reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in July 1981 and peaked at #14 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart. The song was nominated for 1981 Single of the Year by both the CMA and ACM Awards organizations.
"I'm a Survivor" is a song recorded by American country music singer Reba McEntire for her third compilation album Greatest Hits Volume III: I'm a Survivor (2001). The song was written by Shelby Kennedy and Philip White and produced by McEntire and Tony Brown. "I'm a Survivor" is a country pop song with lyrics that tell the story of a premature baby, who later becomes a single parent. It was released as the album's first single on July 5, 2001, through MCA Nashville. The song garnered a positive reception from contemporary music critics, who found McEntire fitting to perform the song. The track experienced moderate success in the United States, where it peaked at No. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as No. 3 on the Billboard' Hot Country Songs. An altered version of the song was later used as the theme song for McEntire's The WB sitcom Reba (2001).
Roger Alan Murrah is a songwriter and independent music publisher who has written hits for artists including Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, Al Jarreau, and Alabama.
Lost in the Fifties Tonight is the seventeenth studio album by American country music artist Ronnie Milsap, released in 1986. The album produced four singles, all of which claimed the top spot on the Billboard country singles chart, including the title track, which was previously featured on Milsap's Second Greatest Hits Volume. The others included "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby", "In Love" and "How Do I Turn You On."
...In Black & White is the eleventh solo studio album by American country music artist Barbara Mandrell. The album was released in April 1982 on MCA Records and was produced by Tom Collins. It was Barbara Mandrell's first studio album in two years since the release of Love Is Fair.
"Just in Case" is a song written by Hugh Moffatt, and recorded by American country music artist Ronnie Milsap. It was released in October 1975 as the second single from his album Night Things. The song reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. The song was also covered by fellow artist Barbara Mandrell that same year on her album This Is Barbara Mandrell.
Scott Davis aka "Scotty D" is an American songwriter, musician, and producer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Davis has written for six publishing companies, over the span of 2 decades, including Collins Music, Acuff-Rose Music, Midas Records Nashville, and Word Entertainment.Davis has had over 20 radio singles and is a multiplatinum songwriter with 4 Gold Records to his name. Davis is also an active real estate agent and he's a successful author with a couple of Amazon best-selling books to his name, on the topic of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Davis is also co-creator of www.customsongshop.com
RCA Nashville is an American country music record label based in Nashville, Tennessee. It is distributed by Sony Music Nashville which is part of Sony Music.
Gary Steven Harrison is an American songwriter.
"How to Be a Country Star" is a song recorded by American country music group The Statler Brothers, written by group members Harold Reid and Don Reid. The song – a humorous, tongue-in-cheek advice song that names many of the top country music recording artists of the time, along with a number of classic country artists – was released in March 1979 as the first single from the album The Originals. The song eventually climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart that May, and also No. 18 on the Canadian RPM country singles chart.
The Country Music Association Awards is a major awards show in country music, with the highest honor being the award for Entertainer of the Year. It is the final award presented at the ceremony and recognizes the artist "displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field", with consideration to not only recorded performance but also "in-person performance, public acceptance, leadership, and overall contribution to country music" they have exhibited throughout the eligibility period. It is generally considered the highest competitive honor presented at the CMA Awards.
Rhonda Kye Fleming is an American singer/songwriter and music publisher working in Nashville, Tennessee. She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009 and has won more than 42 BMI Awards, including BMI Songwriter of the Year for 3 consecutive years (1981–83). Fifteen of her compositions have achieved over one million performances each. Some of the most successful songs Fleming has written or co-written include: "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool", "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed", "Smoky Mountain Rain", "Roll On Mississippi", "Years", "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World", "Nobody","All Roads Lead to You", "Kansas City Lights", and "Give Me Wings". In 2012, she was an honoree of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Poets and Prophets series which honors songwriters deemed to have made a significant contribution to country music. The series featured an extended interview with Fleming before an audience at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and film clips, recordings, and photos of Fleming's life work and awards. Some of the artists who have recorded Fleming's songs are: Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, The Judds, Sylvia, Steve Wariner, Wynonna Judd, Joe Cocker, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Janis Ian, Michael Johnson, Tina Turner, Amy Grant, and Bette Midler.
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