|Former BMI President & CEO Frances Preston (left) looks on as Del and Dane Bryant (at podium) accept their mother's induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame|
Other BMI songwriters inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame this year include Gregg Allman, Dallas Austin and members of R.E.M.
Born in Milwaukee, Felice Bryant lived for many years in Moutrie, Ga., the hometown of husband and writing partner Boudleaux Bryant. The potent combination of Felice and Boudleaux resulted in one of the most enduring songwriting teams in popular music history. The couple penned standards like "Bye Bye Love" and "Wake Up, Little Susie" for the Everly Brothers, catapulting the rock and roll duo to stardom. Buddy Holly's rendition of the Bryants' "Raining in My Heart" was captured during his final recording session in 1958. Prior to their pivotal foray into the burgeoning world of rock and roll, the Bryants wrote hits for a number of country music's legendary figures, including Little Jimmy Dickens, Eddy Arnold and Jim Reeves. A virtual who's who of 20th century music giants recorded songs by the Bryants-names like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Dean Martin color the iconic list.
Though Felice rarely worked without her husband, her solo composition and one-time birthday gift to Boudleaux, "We Could," was recorded by Jim Reeves, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Kitty Wells, George Morgan, the Louvin Brothers, Charley Pride, Al Martino and John Prine-a resounding affirmation of her gift.
Tennessee adopted the Bryants' tune, "Rocky Top," as its state song in 1982; the Georgia Music Hall of Fame inducted Boudleaux that same year, and he lived until 1987. Felice passed away in 1997 at her home in Gatlinburg, Tenn.