Classic Rock

With her husband Boudleaux, Felice Bryant formed one of the most potent songwriting teams in country history, writing many songs that became hits. She had been performing and writing songs since she was a child, but her fame came after she met and married Boudleaux in 1945. They began writing together and sent "Country Boy" to Fred Rose, who bought the song and began Acuff-Rose Publishing's long association with the Bryants. Little Jimmy Dickens hit the country Top Ten with the song in June 1949. Carl Smith recorded the Bryants' "Hey Joe" in 1953 and it also became a hit; Frankie Laine's pop version the same year sold over a million copies. Later in the '50s, Felice and Boudleaux began to move into rock & roll as well, writing a song for Buddy Holly plus most of the Everly Brothers' big hits: "Bye Bye Love," "Problems," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Wake Up Little Susie," and "Bird Dog."

Though they had never deserted country, the Bryants resumed their focus in the '60s, writing hits for Jim Reeves and Sonny James, among others. In 1967, they left Acuff-Rose and formed their own House of Bryant publishing company. The classics continued to come during the '70s, and in 1979, Boudleaux produced the Bryants' first album as performers, All I Have to Do Is Dream -- known in the U.S. as A Touch of Bryant.

By the late '80s, it was estimated that Boudleaux and Felice's warehouse of 3,000 songs had sold over 300 million copies worldwide; that fact made them a shoo-in for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and even the Country Music Hall of Fame -- a rare honor for strict songwriters. Though Boudleaux died in June 1987, Felice Bryant continued to write occasionally. She was 77 when she passed away in her Gatlinburg home in April 2003. ~ John Bush, Rovi