Nashville, TN -- Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Wayne Carson will take a seat at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Saturday, December 3, as the latest subject of the quarterly series Poets and Prophets: Legendary Country Songwriters. The 1:30 p.m. in-depth interview and performance, held in the Museum's Ford Theater, is included with Museum admission and free to Museum members. The program will be streamed live at www.CountryMusicHallOfFame.org.
The 90-minute program, hosted by Museum Editor Michael Gray, will include recordings, photos and film clips from the Museum's Frist Library and Archive. Carson will sign autographs immediately following the program. (Visit the Museum's website for signing details.)
Known as a musical triple-threat, Carson is an award-winning songwriter, a producer and a musician. His songs span the R&B, pop and country charts with hits such as "Always on My Mind," "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," "Soul Deep" and "The Letter." Legendary artists including Brenda Lee, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Ike and Tina Turner and many more have recorded Carson's compositions.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Wayne Carson Thompson grew up in Springfield, Missouri. His parents, Shorty and Sue Thompson, worked for KWTO-AM and performed on the Ozark Jubilee. Carson first picked up a guitar when he was 14 after listening to a Merle Travis record. The musician fronted multiple bands and lived in several cities before settling in Nashville.
In Springfield, Carson worked with publisher-promoter Si Siman, who was the driving force in Springfield's development as a country music center in the 1950s. Siman pitched Carson's songs to Chet Atkins, who at the time was an executive and producer at RCA in Nashville. When Atkins heard "Somebody Like Me," he wanted Eddy Arnold to record it, and in 1966, it became Carson's first #1 hit.
The late 1960s and early 1970s garnered cuts for Carson by diverse artists. The Box Tops recorded "Soul Deep," "Neon Rainbow" and "The Letter"—which also became a monster hit for Joe Cocker in 1970. Waylon Jennings recorded "Something's Wrong in California" and "(Don't Let the Sun Set on You) Tulsa." B.J. Thomas had early 1970s success with "No Love at All." Ike & Tina Turner recorded "Cussin', Cryin', and Carryin' On," an album cut that is now revered by fans of vintage soul and funk.
Carson also wrote a steady stream of country hits, including "I See the Want to in Your Eyes" by Conway Twitty and "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" by Gary Stewart, both #1s. Stewart also reached the Top Ten with Carson's "Drinkin' Thing." "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets" (Johnny Paycheck), "Whiskey Trip" (Stewart) and "Barstool Mountain" (Moe Bandy) were all charting hits co-written with Donn Tankersley.
Though Carson has written a treasure trove of hits, one of his most-awarded songs is the classic ballad "Always on My Mind." Co-written with Johnny Christopher and Mark James, the song has been a hit for numerous artists across multiple formats. Brenda Lee (1972), Elvis Presley (1973) and John Wesley Ryles (1979) all hit the country charts with the song, and the Pet Shop Boys had a Top 5 hit with it on the pop charts in 1988. The gold standard, Willie Nelson's 1982 version, went to #1 on the country chart and #5 on the pop chart. It was lauded with two Grammy awards in 1983 -- for Song of the Year and Best Country Song; won the Country Music Association Song of the Year award in 1982 and '83; and was honored as the NSAI Song of the Year and the Academy of Country Music Single of the Year in 1982. "Always on My Mind" has been included in numerous movies and TV shows. Most recently, American Idol contestant (and future winner) Scotty McCreery performed "Always on My Mind" during the 2011 season. "The Letter" was also nominated for two Grammy awards.
In 2009, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys included Carson's "I Want Some More" on his debut solo album.
Carson's career includes several #1s and more than 75 million records sold by artists who have recorded his songs. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997. He considers himself semi-retired but continues to write songs occasionally.
The Poets and Prophets series honors songwriters who have made significant contributions to country music history. Previous Poets and Prophets honorees include Bill Anderson, Matraca Berg, Bobby Braddock, Jerry Chesnut, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Jerry Foster, Dallas Frazier, Red Lane, John D. Loudermilk, Bob McDill, Roger Murrah, Dan Penn, Curly Putman, Don Schlitz, Whitey Shafer, Jeffrey Steele, Norro Wilson and Craig Wiseman.
The Poets and Prophets series is made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.