Unsurpassed Nashville songwriting icon
With wife, Felice became Nashville's first professional songwriting team
A legendary husband-and-wife songwriting team, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant wrote some of the most renowned songs in the history of rock n’ roll and country music. In Nashville, they are considered an institution.
Together, they likely contributed more successful songs to Nashville's music scene than any other songwriting team. Their prolific output includes more than 6,000 songs and more than 1,000 recordings. In the pop world, Bob Dylan, The Everly Brothers, Johnnie Ray, Frankie Laine, Tony Bennett, Al Martino, The Grateful Dead, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, Della Reese, Simon and Garfunkel, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Percy Faith, Al Hirt, Rosemary Clooney, Roy Orbison, and Herb Alpert are indebted to the Bryants for successful records.
Boudleaux met Felice in Milwaukee. Although she had no musical training, she and her entire family sang and played instruments by ear. In her quiet hours, she also wrote song lyrics. It was only after their marriage in 1945 that they combined their gifts and began writing songs that took the musical world by storm.
Perhaps the Bryants' most famous affiliation has been with two brothers from Kentucky whose talents assimilated the best of southern music: The Everly Brothers. Their first great hit was "Bye, Bye Love," followed by "Wake Up Little Susie." The Bryants co-wrote most of the Everly Brothers' big hits: "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Take A Message to Mary," and "Devoted to You." They also wrote "Raining in My Heart," recorded by Buddy Holly, and the infectious “Rocky Top," which was adopted as a Tennessee state song in 1982.
In 1987, Boudleaux died at the age of 67 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Following her husband's death, Felice continued to live in Gatlinburg and write songs on her own, including musical numbers for plays. She was honored by the Nashville Arts Foundation with the "Living Legend Award." Felice died in 2003 at the age of 77.
The Bryants have received numerous industry accolades such as induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1991), the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1986) and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1972). During their careers, they were affiliated with performance rights organization BMI and earned a total of 59 BMI Pop, Country, and R&B Awards. At the time of Felice's death, it was estimated that the pair's recorded titles had sold more than a half-billion copies worldwide.