Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee will host a reception at Nashville’s BMI offices Tuesday (Aug. 29) to honor veteran music journalist, publicist and promoter Charlie Lamb. The 79-year-old Lamb, who founded the once-influential trade magazine, The Music Reporter, is recovering from surgery.
Born in Knoxville, Lamb drifted into the music business when he took over the artists bureau at a local radio station. Subsequently, he worked as a columnist and salesman for trade publication Cash Box and then as a salesman for Mercury Records. His other enterprises over the years include talent management and record production. At The Music Reporter (which he established in 1956 as Country Music Reporter), Lamb originated the now-standard “bullet,” a typographical symbol to indicate a record’s rapid movement up the airplay or sales chart.
“For many, many years, I knew him through his magazine and then, of course, I’d see him in lots of places,” says Nashville Association of Musicians president Harold Bradley. “My brother [late producer and Decca/MCA executive Owen Bradley] worked together with him quite closely. He would buy ads in The Music Reporter … As far as I know, that was the first country [trade] magazine to hit the stands.”
As a consequence of his heavy involvement in the music industry, Lamb became a founding board member of both the Country Music Association and the Gospel Music Association. In addition, he served as the first president of the Nashville chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the organization that confers the Grammy awards.
Among the many acts Lamb managed or was otherwise active in promoting are Molly O’Day, Connie Smith, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Kitty Wells and Ed Bruce.
Lamb ventured into acting in 1975 when he won a role in the Burt Reynolds movie shot in Nashville, W. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings. He acted with Bruce Willis in the 1989 film In Country. His most recent role was in the remake of Lolita. He also has played character parts in music videos and TV commercials. One of his most memorable video performances was as the double-talking old-timer in Hank Williams Jr.’s “Young Country.”
The Harold Bradley Combo will perform during the reception.