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Newbury, Mickey (19th May 1940-29th September 2002)

He was a singer-songwriter and producer born Mickey Sims Newbury Jr. in Houston, Texas, who started out in the music industry by writing songs while at high school.  When he was a still a teenager he put together the doo-wop group The Embers.  The group had a degree of success in that they released several recordings and were the opening act for artists that included Johnny Cash and Sam Cooke.

He also sang in various clubs but all this stopped when he was 19 years old and he undertook military service in the air force.

After returning to civilian life four years later he began concentrating on songwriting rather than performing and was soon signed up to Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville.

His name started becoming known and after starting to rebel against Nashville’s conventional way of doing things he left Acuff-Rose Music after the release of his debut album and made the decisions to only sign a deal there he could produce or co-produce his own music.  This led to him working in the converted garage studio owned by Wayne Moss and recording three albums there.  The work he had done here in songwriting and production style became influential on artists such as Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson and he was also influential to getting Guy Clark and Townes Can Zandt to relocate to Nashville.

In 1974 he settled in Oregon with his family and during the rest of the 1970s recorded further critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful albums.

When the next decade came around he became the youngest songwriter to have been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980.  He then went into a temporary hiatus from recording and giving performances until the late 1980s.

He continued to write and perform throughout the 1990s and early 2000s until his death.  He also worked on children books that were based on some of his songs.

His songs have been recorded by hundreds of different artists from any different genres of music with his most famous possible being the widely performed “An American Trilogy” and a big hit for Elvis Presley.  He also wrote several hits such as Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings” and the No. 1 “Here Comes the Rain Baby” by Eddy Arnold along with the No. 4 “Sweet Memories” recorded by Andy Williams and the No. 5 “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, which all appeared simultaneously in the Top 10 of four different charts during the 1960s.  His song “You’ve Always Got the Blues” was used for the 8-part series Stringer in Australia.

Just a few of the many different artists that have performed and/or his songs include Lynn Anderson, Kurtis Blow, The Box Tops, Jim Ed Brown, The Byrds, Vicki Carr, Fatboy Slim, Roberta Flack, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Don Gibson, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frank Ifield, Etta James, The Kingston Trio, Brenda Lee, Lena Martell, Roger Miller, Ronnie Milsap, The New Christy Minstrels, The Newbeats, Juice Newton, Alexander O’Neal, Oliver, Marie Osmond, Dolly Parton, Carl Perkins, Ray Price, Charley Pride, P.J. Proby, Jerry Reed, Charlie Rich, Johnny Rodriguez, Linda Ronstadt, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Earl Scruggs, Del Shannon, Joe Simon, The Statler Brothers, Nat Stuckey, Supergrass, Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Dottie West and Tammy Wynette among others.

A small selection of albums he has featured on as a performer/songwriter, excluding his own, include Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective by Duane Allman, Farewell, Angelina by Joan Baez, Singin’ in the Kitchen by Bobby Bare, King Solomon by Solomon Burke, Letter to Home by Glen Campbell, We the People by Johnny Cash, Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959-1986 by Ray Charles, Great Country Hits by Floyd Cramer, Some Days Are Diamonds by John Denver, Stories We Could Tell by The Everly Brothers, Cedartown, Georgia by Waylon Jennings, Green, Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones, Soul My Way by Jerry Lee Lewis, Love Me Tender by B.B. King, Journeys from Gospel Oak by Ian Matthews, Good Times by Willie Nelson, Clearly Love by Olivia Newton John, When the World’s at Peace by The O’Jays, Man of La Mancha (& Other Hits) by 101 Strings, Cry Softly, Lonely One by Roy Orbison, Ghost Riders by The Outlaws, As Recorded at Madison Square Garden by Elvis Presley, Together, The Best Of… by Reef, I’m Nearly Famous by Cliff Richard, Something’s Burning by Kenny Roger, Silk Purse by Linda Ronstadt and You’re Easy to Love by Hank Snow.

Battling with emphysema he passed away in Vida, Oregon, in 2002 when he was just 62 years old.  He left behind him a massive musical legacy of 25 of his own albums including ‘Frisco Mabel Joy, Harlequin Memories, Heaven Help the Child, His Eye is on the Sparrow, I Came to Hear the Music, It Looks Like Rain, It Might as Well be the Moon, Live at Montezuma Hall, Lovers, Live in England, Rusty Tracks, Sweet Memories, Stories from the Silver Moon Cafe and Winter Winds as well as at least 1,000 covers of his songs.

Kenny Rogers recordings
The Gambler (Don Schlitz)
United Artists UA-X1250-Y (UAST-20122)