NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 24, 2011 - Renowned session keyboard player David Briggs will be saluted on Saturday, March 26, as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's popular series Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians. The program, which will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Museum's Ford Theater, is included with Museum admission and free to Museum members. The program will be streamed live on www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
Hosted by Bill Lloyd, the tribute to Briggs will include an in-depth, one-on-one interview illustrated with vintage recordings, photos and film clips from the Museum's Frist Library and Archive. Immediately following the program, Briggs will sign autographs in the Museum Store.
Briggs' keyboard virtuosity knows no genre boundaries. He has performed on pop and R&B hits such as "Everybody" for Tommy Roe and "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?" for the Tams; spent three decades as a go-to session musician in Nashville, playing on recordings by George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Reba McEntire, Roy Orbison, Charley Pride, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, the Statler Brothers, Hank Williams Jr. and more; and recorded and toured with Elvis Presley. His stellar career also includes success as a record producer, publisher and musical director.
David Briggs was born in Killen, Alabama, in 1943. At age 14, he began his career as a session musician, working for James Joiner at Tune Records in Florence, Alabama. There he met Jerry Carrigan, Norbert Putnam and Terry Thompson. Together, the quartet formed the original rhythm section at Rick Hall's Fame Studio and pioneered the "Muscle Shoals sound," making the city a recording hub for R&B, rock and pop artists throughout the 1960s and '70s. Briggs played on hits by Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes, Tommy Roe and the Tams. While touring with Roe, the group opened for the Beatles during their first U.S. tour.
In 1962, Briggs inked an artist-songwriter deal with Decca Records and moved to Nashville two years later (along with Carrigan and Putnam). His major break came in 1966 when he filled in for Floyd Cramer during one of Elvis Presley's recording sessions for the albums How Great Thou Art and Love Letters from Elvis. Presley appreciated Briggs' musicianship and invited him to play organ for the remaining sessions when Cramer returned to the piano. Briggs continued to record with Elvis until 1976 and toured with him from 1975 to February 1977.
Along with his recordings for Elvis, Briggs' Nashville piano and keyboard credits include cuts on Kris Kristofferson's Silver Tongued Devil and I, Reba McEntire's Behind the Scene, Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors, Eddie Rabbitt's Rocky Mountain Music and Hank Williams Jr.'s Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound.
Not only is Briggs a first-rate pianist, he is a renowned producer. In 1969, he and Norbert Putnam opened Quadrafonic Sound Studios. The studio hosted recording sessions for artists including Jimmy Buffet, Linda Rondstadt and Neil Young before it was sold in 1976. A few years later, Briggs opened a new recording studio, House of David. In 1985, he joined with Will Jennings to form publishing company Willin' David Music. The partnership published the Academy Award-winning song "Up Where We Belong."
Briggs also found success outside of conventional recording. He recorded commercials for a variety of clients including Budweiser, Chevrolet, Coke and Sears. He served as musical director for TV specials including several CMA awards telecasts, The 65th Anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry, the CBS Hall of Fame Special and a tribute to Minnie Pearl.
Briggs was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1999. He retired from playing but remains active as a studio owner-operator.
Museum programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The Museum's mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the Foundation also operates CMF Records, the Museum's Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B, and Hatch Show Print®.
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.
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