1970sAustin City LimitsCountry MusicMusicPBS

Music – 1979 – Austin City Limits – Tom T Hall – The Year Clayton Delany Died


Thomas T. Hall is an American country music songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, novelist, and short-story writer. He has written 12 x # 1 hit songs….with 26 more that reached the Top 10, including the # 1 international pop-crossover smash “Harper Valley PTA” and the hit “I Love”….which reached # 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. He became known to fans as “The Storyteller” thanks to his storytelling skills in his songwriting. 

Hall was born in 1936. As a teenager, he organized a band called the Kentucky Travelers that performed before movies for a traveling theater. During a stint in the Army, Hall performed over the Armed Forces Radio Network and wrote comic songs about Army experiences. His early career included being a radio announcer at WRON, a local radio station in Ronceverte, West Virginia.  Hall was also an announcer at WMOR 1330AM in Morehead, Kentucky….and later an announcer at WSPZ….which later became WVRC  Radio in Spencer, West Virginia, in the 1960’s.   

Hall’s big songwriting break came in 1963….when country singer Jimmy C. Newman  recorded his song, “DJ For a Day”….when soon after he moved to Nashville, TN….where he arrived in 1964 with $46 and a guitar….who within months…. had songs climbing the charts….for The Storyteller has written songs for dozens of country stars including  Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, and Bobby Bare.  

One of his earliest successful songwriting ventures, “Harper Valley PTA”….was recorded in 1968 by Jeannie C. Riley….hit # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts a week apart….and sold over six million copies….while winning both a Grammy Award and CMA Award.  The song would go on to inspire a motion picture and television program of the same name….as Tom Tl himself recorded this song on his album The Definitive Collection (as track No. 23).  Hall’s recording career took off after Riley’s rendition of the song by releasing a number of hits from the late 1960’s through the early 1980’s….such as “A Week in a Country Jail”…. “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine”….“I Love“….“Country Is”….“The Year Clayton Delaney Died” (as seen herewith)….“I Like Beer” ….“Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet)”…. and many others.  He is also noted for his children-oriented songs including “Sneaky Snake” and “I Care”….which hit No. 1 on the country charts in 1975.  In 1979, Hall appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 4.

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