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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Hank Garland born 11 November 1930

Walter Louis Garland (November 11, 1930 – December 27, 2004), better known as Hank Garland, was a Nashville studio musician who performed with Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison and many others.

Born in Cowpens, South Carolina, Garland began playing the

guitar at the age of 6. He appeared on local radio shows at 12 and was discovered at 14 at a South Carolina record store. He moved to Nashville at age 16, staying in Ma Upchurch's boarding house, where he roomed with upright bassist Bob Moore and fiddler Dale Potter.

At age 19, Garland recorded his million-selling hit "Sugarfoot Rag", although some attribute the song to Bernie B. Smith, Jr., published two years earlier by M.M. Cole/BMI as "Bernie's Reel". An instrumental version was the opening theme for ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee from 1955–1960. Garland appeared on the Jubilee with Grady Martin's band, and on Eddy Arnold's network and syndicated television shows.
He is best known for his work on Elvis Presley's recordings from 1957 to 1961 which produced such rock hits as "Little Sister", "I Need Your Love Tonight" and "A Big Hunk O' Love". However, Garland also worked with many country music as well as rock 'n roll stars of the late 1950s and early 1960s including Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Mel Tillis, Marty Robbins, the Everly Brothers, Boots Randolph, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. He also played with jazz artists such as George Shearing and Charlie Parker in New York and went on to record Jazz Winds From a New Direction, showcasing his evolving talent.It is also believed that he is the first to explore the use of the Power chord in popular music.

Here is Hank on the recording of Little Sister by Elvis Presley

At the request of Gibson Guitar company president, Ted McCarty, Garland and fellow guitarist Billy Byrd strongly influenced the
design of the Byrdland guitar.

In September 1961, he was playing for the soundtrack of Presley's movie, Follow That Dream when a car accident left Garland in a coma that lasted for a week. With the help of his wife, he re-learned how to walk, talk, and play the guitar though he never recovered sufficiently to return to the studios. It was believed electroconvulsive therapy, prescribed by his doctors, may have caused more damage to his brain, but little evidence exists to support this theory.

Garland's brother, Billy, claimed the crash was actually an
attempted murder by someone in the Nashville music scene, but there is no evidence of that. Garland was widely respected by his peers and Nashville producers such as Chet Atkins, Don Law and Owen Bradley.

Garland died on December 27, 2004 of a staph infection in Orange Park, Florida. He is survived by two daughters, Cheryl and Debra.

His life and times was the subject of the partially fictional independent film Crazy. (Info Wikipedia) 

The only album of Hank's I have in my library is "Move" The Guitar Artistry of Hank Garland. 

   Here's "Autumn Leaves" recorded 9 April 1959.


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