Alan Mayor, whose photos chronicled the country music industry for almost 40 years, died Sunday (Feb. 22) in Clarksville, Tenn., at age 65. He had recently suffered a series of strokes and was residing in a rehabilitation center at the time of his death.
Mayor was the principal photographer of Garth Brooks’ early career. He collected many of his most historically significant photographs in his 1999 book, The Nashville Family Album: A Country Music Scrapbook, for which Brooks wrote the introduction.
Easygoing and affable, Mayor often contributed his photographs free to charitable causes. In that capacity, he “shot” both the obscure and the famous with equal diligence, his subjects ranging from Music Row working stiffs to former President Jimmy Carter in his role as a spokesman for Habitat for Humanity.
Mayor was a familiar figure backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, where he mingled with the stars, many of whom he had known and photographed since their breakthrough days.
The son of an Air Force officer, Mayor spent his early years in Clarksville and earned his undergraduate degree from Austin Peay State University there in Clarksville.
Like thousands of others, Mayor moved to nearby Nashville to become a songwriter. Having no luck there, he turned to photography in 1973 and was on hand for virtually every important musical event from that time on. He was sidelined in 2007 with near-fatal cirrhosis, but after receiving a liver transplant, he survived to shoot again.
Plans are being made for a public memorial service.