Tom T. Hall

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Tom T. Hall (born May 25, 1936, in Olive Hill, Kentucky) is an American country singer and influential songwriter. He was born "Thomas Hall" but added "T" to his name when he began his singing career.[1] As a singer, he had, in a 20-year period from 1967 through 1986, 54 songs in the Top 100 country hits, including six that rose to #1. His two best-known hits are probably "The Year Clayton Delaney Died" and "(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine," both of which he wrote and which are apparently autobiographical sketches from his own life. A prolific and well-known songwriter, he has written numerous hits recorded by other artists. One of his earliest efforts, "Harper Valley PTA", recorded in 1968 by Jeannie C. Riley, sold more than six million copies, won several awards, and reached #1 on both the Pop and Country Singles Charts. It later inspired both a movie and a television program of the same name. Hall has written several books and has revealed that he studied the techniques of Ernest Hemingway to help him in his own song-writing narratives. Because many of his songs are colorful slice-of-life episodes rather than more traditional country love songs or laments, he was quickly dubbed "The Storyteller" in Nashville. Among other singers who have had major hits with songs written by Hall are Faron Young, Dave Dudley, Bobby Bare, and George Jones. Hall's "genius", writes country music scholar Bill C. Malone, lies "in his almost conversational narratives of everyday life, somehow capturing 'the subtlest nuances of the men in southern towns who sit around feed stores and filling stations swapping stories with the county agent and the butane man.' "[2] Hall, says Malone, "captured a new audience for country music, and gave the music new economic strength, by restoring the old tradition of story-telling." [3]


  1. Whitburn, pages 161
  2. Malone, page 304; the quotation by Malone comes from Stars of Country Music, by William C. Martin, page 398.
  3. Malone, page 304.