FELICE BRYANT (By Shaun Mather)
Born Matilda Genevieve Scaduto, 7 August 1925, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Felice Bryant was the female half of the famed husband-wife songwriting team whose songs sold over 300 million records, mainly in the country and rock'n'roll fields. Born Matilda Genevieve Scaduto, her first job after graduation was an elevator operator at the Schroeder Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. It was here in 1945 that she met and fell in love with a travelling musican, Boudleaux Bryant. They were married within weeks and moved to Moultrie where Boudleaux held a job with the Twilight Playboys.
The young bride became bored and started to write songs. Now bearing the nickname Felice, she showed the songs to her husband who added his own touch to the pieces and began sending them to publishers across the country. The first success they had was with Country Boy, which became a country hit for Little Jimmy Dickens in 1950. Over the next couple of years they enjoyed countless hits in the country field (including their first # 1 with Carl Smith's Hey Joe) and the pop field (including Frankie Laine's version of the same song).
The icing on the cake came when they teamed up with the Everly Brothers. The boys vocal harmonies blended superbly with the writers easy natured rock 'n' roll numbers. The association saw such classics as Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, Devoted To You, Bird Dog and and the beautiful All I Have To Do Is Dream.
During this time the Bryants had been writing for Acuff-Rose publishing but in 1967 they formed their own House of Bryant. Some of their other highlights include Love Hurts (Everly Bros, Roy Orbison), Raining In My Heart (Buddy Holly), Let's Think About Living (Bob Luman), She Wears My Ring (Ray Price and Elvis), Mexico (Bob Moore and Ventures) and Rocky Top, which in 1982 became the Tennessee state song.
They were inducted to the National Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1991. Boudleaux died of cancer in 1987, with Felice passing away this past April.
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