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James Corbitt Morris (June 20, 1907 – July 12, 1998),[1] known professionally as Jimmy Driftwood
Jimmy Driftwood
or Jimmie Driftwood, was an American folk music songwriter and musician, most famous for his songs "The Battle of New Orleans" and "Tennessee Stud". Driftwood wrote more than 6,000 folk songs,[1] of which more than 300 were recorded by various musicians.

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 Early life 1.2 1920s and 1930s 1.3 1950s 1.4 1960s 1.5 Environmental advocate 1.6 Later years

2 References 3 External links

Biography[edit] Early life[edit] Driftwood was born in Timbo, Arkansas, on June 20, 1907.[2] His father was folk singer Neil Morris. Driftwood learned to play the guitar at a young age on his grandfather's homemade instrument. Driftwood used that unique guitar throughout his career and noted that its neck was made from a fence rail, its sides from an old ox yoke, and the head and bottom from the headboard of his grandmother's bed.[1] This homemade instrument produced a pleasant, distinctive, resonant sound. Driftwood attended John Brown College in northwest Arkansas
Arkansas
and later received a degree in education from Arkansas
Arkansas
State Teacher's College. He started writing songs during his teaching career to teach his students history in an entertaining manner. 1920s and 1930s[edit] During the 1920s and 1930s, Driftwood left Arkansas, eventually hitchhiking through the southwestern United States. In Arizona
Arizona
he entered, and won, a local song contest. In 1936, Driftwood married Cleda Johnson, who was one of his former students, and returned to Arkansas
Arkansas
to raise a family and resume his teaching career. During this period of his life Driftwood wrote hundreds of songs but did not pursue a musical career seriously. He wrote his later famous "Battle of New Orleans" in 1936, to help a high school class he was teaching become interested in the event. 1950s[edit] In the 1950s, he changed his name to Jimmy Driftwood, both publicly and legally. In 1957, a Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
song publisher learned of Driftwood, auditioned him, and signed him to his first record deal. Driftwood recalled playing some 100 of his songs in one day, of which 20 were chosen to be recorded. Driftwood's first album, Newly Discovered Early American Folk Songs, received good reviews but did not sell particularly well. "The Battle of New Orleans" was included on the album, but did not conform to the radio standards of the time because of the words "hell" and "damn" in the lyrics. Driftwood said that at the time those words could be preached but not sung in secular contexts for broadcast. Driftwood was asked to make a shorter censored version of the song for a live radio performance. Singer Johnny Horton, after hearing the song, contacted Driftwood and told him that he wished to record his own version. Driftwood left Arkansas
Arkansas
for Nashville and became popular by his appearances on the Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
and programs including Ozark Jubilee and Louisiana Hayride. He was invited to sing for Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
as an example of traditional American music during the leader's 1959 state visit to the United States. He became a member of the Opry in the 1950s.[3] The popular peak of Driftwood's career came in 1959, when he had no fewer than six songs on the popular and country music charts, including Johnny Horton's recording of his "The Battle of New Orleans", which remained in first place on the country music singles chart for ten weeks, and atop the popular music chart for six weeks that year. The song won the 1960 Grammy Award
Grammy Award
for Song of the Year. After Horton's success, Driftwood performed at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
and at major American folk music festivals before returning home to Timbo, Arkansas
Arkansas
in 1962.[4] During his recording career Driftwood also won Grammy Awards for Wilderness Road, Songs of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb and Tennessee Stud. Driftwood songs were recorded by Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Homer and Jethro
Homer and Jethro
(the parody "The Battle of Kookamonga"), Odetta, Doc Watson
Doc Watson
and others. In 1958, Driftwood appeared as a guest challenger on the television game show, To Tell The Truth. 1960s[edit] For a time during the 1960s, Driftwood toured the United States and Europe with the Preservation Hall
Preservation Hall
New Orleans
New Orleans
jazz band, although as a separate act. Back home, he became a folklorist, establishing the Rackensack Folklore Society, an association of local folk singers and musicians, and began performing at the local county fair in Mountain View. Driftwood became interested in promoting Arkansas
Arkansas
folk music and the local folk performers he knew in the area. He invited members of the Mountain View community to perform at a festival of his own devising. This festival grew over the years, and transformed into the annual Arkansas
Arkansas
Folk Festival which would attract more than 100,000 people. Driftwood helped establish the Ozark Folk Center
Ozark Folk Center
to preserve Ozark Mountain culture. The Folk Center was later absorbed into the Arkansas State Park system and remains a popular tourist destination.[4] Environmental advocate[edit] Driftwood became involved with environmental issues when the United States Army Corps of Engineers planned to dam the Buffalo River. He worked to defeat the plan, which ultimately resulted in the establishment of Buffalo National River. Driftwood had a major role in preserving Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs Caverns
which later came under management of the United States Forest Service. He recorded the song still heard in the orientation film in the visitor center. Driftwood was appointed to direct the Arkansas
Arkansas
Parks and Tourism Commission for his environmental efforts. He was also named to the Advisory Committee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
in Washington, D.C.. Due to his extensive knowledge of folk music he was appointed as a musicologist for the National Geographic Society. Later years[edit] During his later life Driftwood enjoyed performing free concerts for high school and college students. He died of a heart attack on July 12, 1998, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at age 91.[1][4] References[edit]

^ a b c d Biography of Jimmy Driftwood
Jimmy Driftwood
from the Association for Cultural Equity, 2001–2011 ^ "Jimmy Driftwood". In Memoriam. Retrieved September 12, 2012.  ^ "Opry Timeline – 1960s". Retrieved July 10, 2012.  ^ a b c "Jimmie Driftwood – Biography". CMT. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jimmy Driftwood.

In Memoriam Jimmy Driftwood Recordings of Driftwood playing and talking at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival. Available for streaming from Cultural Equity.

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Members of the Grand Ole Opry

Roy Acuff Trace Adkins David "Stringbean" Akeman Bill Anderson Jack Anglin Eddy Arnold Ernest Ashworth Chet Atkins DeFord Bailey Bobby Bare Bashful Brother Oswald Humphrey Bate Dierks Bentley Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers Clint Black Margie Bowes Rod Brasfield Garth Brooks Jim Ed Brown The Browns Carl Butler and Pearl Archie Campbell Bill Carlisle Martha Carson The Carter Sisters Maybelle Carter Johnny Cash June Carter Cash Roy Clark Terri Clark Zeke Clements Patsy Cline Jerry Clower John Conlee Stoney Cooper Wilma Lee Cooper Cowboy Copas Dailey & Vincent Charlie Daniels Skeeter Davis The Delmore Brothers The DeZurik Sisters Diamond Rio Little Jimmy Dickens Joe Diffie Danny Dill Jimmy Driftwood Roy Drusky The Duke of Paducah Holly Dunn The Everly Brothers Lester Flatt Red Foley Curly Fox Lefty Frizzell Larry Gatlin Crystal Gayle Don Gibson Vince Gill Billy Grammer Jack Greene The Gully Jumpers Theron Hale Tom T. Hall George Hamilton IV Sid Harkreader Emmylou Harris Hawkshaw Hawkins George D. Hay Hoot Hester Goldie Hill David Houston Jan Howard Ferlin Husky Alan Jackson Stonewall Jackson Sonny James Chris Janson Norma Jean Jim & Jesse Johnnie & Jack George Jones Grandpa Jones The Jordanaires Doug Kershaw Hal Ketchum Bradley Kincaid Pee Wee King Alison Krauss Little Big Town Hank Locklin Lonzo and Oscar Bobby Lord The Louvin Brothers Charlie Louvin Ira Louvin Patty Loveless Bob Luman Loretta Lynn Uncle Dave Macon Rose Maddox Barbara Mandrell Kerry Marx Martina McBride Del McCoury Mel McDaniel Reba McEntire McGee Brothers Jesse McReynolds Ronnie Milsap Bill Monroe Montgomery Gentry Craig Morgan George Morgan Lorrie Morgan Moon Mullican Willie Nelson Jimmy C. Newman The Oak Ridge Boys Old Crow Medicine Show Osborne Brothers Brad Paisley Dolly Parton Johnny Paycheck Minnie Pearl Stu Phillips Webb Pierce Ray Pillow Ray Price Charley Pride Jeanne Pruett Rascal Flatts Del Reeves Jim Reeves Riders in the Sky Tex Ritter Marty Robbins Darius Rucker Johnny Russell Rusty and Doug Earl Scruggs Jeannie Seely Blake Shelton Ricky Van Shelton Jean Shepard Ricky Skaggs Mississippi Slim Carl Smith Connie Smith Fiddlin' Arthur Smith Mike Snider Hank Snow Red Sovine Ralph Stanley Marty Stuart Texas Ruby B. J. Thomas Uncle Jimmy Thompson Mel Tillis Pam Tillis Tompall & the Glaser Brothers Randy Travis Travis Tritt Ernest Tubb Justin Tubb Josh Turner Carrie Underwood Keith Urban Leroy Van Dyke Porter Wagoner Billy Walker Charlie Walker Steve Wariner Kitty Wells Dottie West The Whites Slim Whitman The Wilburn Brothers Don Williams Hank Williams Boxcar Willie The Willis Brothers Chubby Wise Del Wood Marion Worth Johnnie Wright Tammy Wynette Trisha Yearwood Chris Young Faron Young

v t e

Grammy Award
Grammy Award
for Song of the Year

1959−1980

"Volare" – Domenico Modugno
Domenico Modugno
(songwriter) (1959) "The Battle of New Orleans" – Jimmy Driftwood
Jimmy Driftwood
(songwriter) (1960) "Theme from Exodus" – Ernest Gold (songwriter) (1961) "Moon River" – Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer
& Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
(songwriters) (1962) "What Kind of Fool Am I?" – Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley (songwriters) (1963) "Days of Wine and Roses" – Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer
& Henry Mancini (songwriters) (1964) "Hello, Dolly!" – Jerry Herman
Jerry Herman
(songwriter) (1965) "The Shadow of Your Smile" – Paul Francis Webster & Johnny Mandel (songwriters) (1966) "Michelle" – John Lennon
John Lennon
& Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
(songwriters) (1967) "Up, Up, and Away" – Jimmy Webb
Jimmy Webb
(songwriter) (1968) "Little Green Apples" – Bobby Russell (songwriter) (1969) "Games People Play" – Joe South
Joe South
(songwriter) (1970) "Bridge over Troubled Water" – Paul Simon
Paul Simon
(songwriter) (1971) "You've Got a Friend" – Carole King
Carole King
(songwriter) (1972) "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" – Ewan MacColl (songwriter) (1973) "Killing Me Softly with His Song" – Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox (songwriters) (1974) "The Way We Were" – Alan and Marilyn Bergman & Marvin Hamlisch (songwriters) (1975) "Send in the Clowns" – Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
(songwriter) (1976) "I Write the Songs" – Bruce Johnston (songwriter) (1977) "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" – Barbra Streisand & Paul Williams (songwriters) / "You Light Up My Life" – Joe Brooks (songwriter) (1978) "Just the Way You Are" – Billy Joel
Billy Joel
(songwriter) (1979) "What a Fool Believes" – Kenny Loggins
Kenny Loggins
& Michael McDonald (songwriters) (1980)

1981−2000

"Sailing" – Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
(songwriter) (1981) "Bette Davis Eyes" – Donna Weiss & Jackie DeShannon (songwriters) (1982) "Always on My Mind" – Johnny Christopher, Mark James & Wayne Carson (songwriters) (1983) "Every Breath You Take" – Sting (songwriter) (1984) "What's Love Got to Do with It" – Graham Lyle & Terry Britten (songwriters) (1985) "We Are the World" – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
& Lionel Richie (songwriters) (1986) "That's What Friends Are For" – Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach
& Carole Bayer Sager (songwriters) (1987) "Somewhere Out There" – James Horner, Barry Mann
Barry Mann
& Cynthia Weil (songwriters) (1988) "Don't Worry, Be Happy" – Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin
(songwriter) (1989) "Wind Beneath My Wings" – Larry Henley & Jeff Silbar (songwriters) (1990) "From a Distance" – Julie Gold
Julie Gold
(songwriter) (1991) "Unforgettable" – Irving Gordon
Irving Gordon
(songwriter) (1992) "Tears in Heaven" – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
& Will Jennings (songwriters) (1993) "A Whole New World" – Alan Menken
Alan Menken
& Tim Rice
Tim Rice
(songwriters) (1994) "Streets of Philadelphia" – Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
(songwriter) (1995) "Kiss from a Rose" – Seal (songwriter) (1996) "Change the World" – Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick & Tommy Sims (songwriters) (1997) "Sunny Came Home" – Shawn Colvin
Shawn Colvin
& John Leventhal
John Leventhal
(songwriters) (1998) "My Heart Will Go On" – James Horner
James Horner
& Will Jennings (songwriters) (1999) "Smooth" – Itaal Shur
Itaal Shur
& Rob Thomas (songwriters) (2000)

2001−present

"Beautiful Day" – Adam Clayton, David Evans, Laurence Mullen & Paul Hewson (songwriters) (2001) "Fallin'" – Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys
(songwriter) (2002) "Don't Know Why" – Jesse Harris (songwriter) (2003) "Dance with My Father" – Richard Marx
Richard Marx
& Luther Vandross (songwriters) (2004) "Daughters" – John Mayer
John Mayer
(songwriter) (2005) "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" – Adam Clayton, David Evans, Laurence Mullen & Paul Hewson (songwriters) (2006) "Not Ready to Make Nice" – Emily Burns Erwin, Martha Maguire, Natalie Maines
Natalie Maines
Pasdar & Dan Wilson (songwriters) (2007) "Rehab" – Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
(songwriter) (2008) "Viva la Vida" – Guy Berryman, Jonathan Buckland, William Champion & Christopher Martin (songwriters) (2009) "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" – Thaddis "Kuk" Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles, Terius Nash & Christopher Stewart (songwriters) (2010) "Need You Now" – Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley
Charles Kelley
& Hillary Scott (songwriters) (2011) "Rolling in the Deep" – Adele
Adele
Adkins & Paul Epworth (songwriters) (2012) "We Are Young" – Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost
Andrew Dost
& Nate Ruess (songwriters) (2013) "Royals" – Joel Little & Ella Yelich O'Connor (songwriters) (2014) "Stay with Me" (Darkchild version) – James Napier, William Phillips & Sam Smith (songwriters) (2015) "Thinking Out Loud" – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran
& Amy Wadge
Amy Wadge
(songwriters) (2016) "Hello" – Adele
Adele
Adkins & Greg Kurstin
Greg Kurstin
(songwriters) (2017) "That's What I Like" – Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip (songwriters) (2018)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 80221047 LCCN: n82128844 GND: 135493404 MusicBrainz: 5cd09b8e-1370-45df-9269-850be737aecb SN

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