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CHARLIE LAMB PASSED AWAY AT 90

COUNTRY MUSIC SUFFERS A GREAT LOSS
CHARLIE LAMB PASSED AWAY AT 90
THE MAYOR OF MUSIC ROW

With great sadness in my heart, I send the news to everyone that Charlie Lamb passed away yesterday at approximately 4 AM.  Charlie had been having health issues for the past several years, and the time of his death he had pneumonia, and Country Music lost it true ambassador.  The following is from the year 2000 when “A Tribute to Charlie” was hosted by Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee.
This is a great loss to our country music industry.  I was guilty of not going to see Charlie who was so instrumental in supporting what I write and was always there for me with advice and acknowledgement of what I wrote, and I did not know that he was in an assisted living facility.  I wish I would have known.  Thanks for Leslie Elliot and Diane Jordan for letting us know.  He will be sadly missed by an entire music industry.  His list of credentials reads like a Who’s Who in Country Music, and he has given so much to country music in it days of infancy.
LAMB, Charles Stacy, of Franklin. Passed away on March 7, 2012. He is preceded in death by his wife, Frances Lamb; son, Gary Lamb. Survived by children, Fred Stacy Lamb, Charles (Melanie) Lamb and Dudley (Betty) Lamb; grandchildren, Laura Little, Summer Lamb, Justin Lamb, Daniel Lamb and Patrick Lamb.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 9, 2012 at Woodlawn’s Dignity Hall with Rev. Raymond Langlois officiating. Interment to follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park.  Active Pallbearers will consist of family and friends.  Honorary pallbearers will be John Wannamaker, Gary Walker, Fred Johnson and H.D. “Mac” McInturff.
The family will receive friends today from five o’clock until seven-thirty this evening. 
One of the unsung pioneers of Nashville’s music industry was honored at BMI (8/29) as Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee hosted the Charlie Lamb reception: “A Tribute To Charlie.” More than 300 people were on hand to toast Charlie Lamb, legendary journalist, promoter, executive, humorist, publicist and actor who was a key player in Nashville’s evolution into a world-class entertainment center. BMI’s Patsy Bradley began the evening’s program by presenting flowers from BMI President & CEO Frances Preston to Lamb’s wife, Frances, and introducing Mistress of Ceremonies Lee. Others making presentations included Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, CMA’s Ed Benson, Belmont University’s Don Cusic, Bill Anderson and Ralph Emery who, on behalf of Gov. Don Sundquist, read a proclamation announcing August 29 as “Charlie Lamb Day.”
Purcell, CMA’s Ed Benson, Belmont University’s Don Cusic, Bill Anderson and Ralph Emery who, on behalf of Gov. Don Sundquist, read a proclamation announcing August 29 as “Charlie Lamb Day.”
Lamb was Nashvilles first Sales and Promotion executive for a national record company. He was the citys first representative to the national trade publications Billboard and Cash Box. Lamb was on the founding boards of both the Country Music Association and the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy. A hilarious master of double talk, he has been saluted on ABC-TV as one of Americas Funniest People.
He was also the publisher of Nashvilles first music-industry periodical. The Music Reporter revolutionized the trade by inventing the bullet system on its popularity charts. That system remains in use today throughout the music world. As a show promoter, he worked with everyone from the cast of the Grand Ole Opry to Elvis Presley. As a character actor, he has been featured in Hollywood films, television commercials and country music videos. And to a generation of entertainers and executives he was affectionately known as The Mayor of Music Row.
This remarkable man was born 79 years ago in Knoxville, Tennessee. His parents were show people – mother was a trapeze artist and father was a magician, ventriloquist and animal trainer. Lambs first foray into entertainment was as a barker for the Beckman & Gherty Carnival, but World War II interrupted his career. Although only 56 and 105 pounds, he served as a military policeman during the 1940s. He also married his wife Frances during the war years. Back in Knoxville, Lamb worked as a reporter for the Knoxville Journal and as a disc jockey on WKGN radio.
His career as a promoter began when he began running the artist bureau for WROL in Knoxville, booking such stars as Flatt & Scruggs and Carl Smith. He was next hired by Mercury Records to work in its then-new outpost in Nashville, the citys first permanent record-company office. He promoted a roster that included Patti Page, Rex Allen and Frankie Laine and rose to a vice presidency.
The New York headquarters of Cash Box magazine wanted a Nashville representative. Lamb was hired as a $15-a-week columnist and sold ads and subscriptions to the publication by hanging around the Opry on weekends. He was soon working on commission as an ad salesman for both Cash Box and Billboard. In 1953 he helped organize the first Country Music Disc Jockey Convention as a way of celebrating the Grand Ole Oprys birthday each year. That custom survives today as Country Music Week in Nashville each October. He was also a key figure in establishing the annual Jimmie Rodgers Day in Meridian, MS and Hank Williams Day in Montgomery, Alabama.
He continued to work as a show promoter, playing a key role in the careers of such stars as Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Kitty Wells, Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins in the 1950s. He was a prolific album annotator, providing notes for packages by Bob Wills, Tex Williams, Spade Cooley and many others. In 1956 Lamb founded The Music Reporter to chronicle the growth of Music Row. The publication inaugurated the Big 100 popularity chart, which was soon copied by its competitors in New York. So was Lambs bullet to denote a fast-rising single on the charts. The magazine also published Dick Clarks weekly top-10 lists from his American Bandstand TV show. The Music Reporter was instrumental in focusing national and international attention on Nashville as a music center in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1958 Lamb served as a founding board member of The Country Music Association. He was probably the midwife at Nashvilles birth as a major recording center, observes Brenda Lee. I love him because he was there to help me, and others like me, when I was just starting out in this business.  Lambs protégé’s also included Jim Reeves, for whom he negotiated a star-making contract with RCA. He was Elvis Presleys fan club organizer when the King electrified America on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. Lamb discovered Bill Anderson in 1958 and pitched the youngsters City Lights to superstar Ray Price, launching Andersons career as one of the most successful songwriters in Nashville history.
In 1964 the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy was established, with Lamb sitting on its inaugural board. In 1965 his liner notes for a Hank Williams LP were nominated for a Grammy Award, another first for a Nashvillian.  By this time, Charlie Lamb was famous throughout the community as a master of double talk, which made him a popular convention speaker and media personality. A typical babbling might be, Edistrada on the sidistay, another, you got it! Besides, doodisam moffan off there, ifn you can get it working for you. His skill once drove prospective dictation secretaries to tears on the Candid Camera TV show, and won him the $10,000 grand prize on Americas Funniest People.
He sold The Music Reporter in 1964. He published a second trade publication, Sound Format, in 1966-73. During this same period his Charlie Lamb Agency managed country stars Connie Smith, Ed Bruce, Doug Kershaw and others. He also briefly had his own label, Doubletalk Records. In 1977-80 he operated The Charlie Lamb Country Music Museum of Stars on 17th Avenue South. Then he worked for Jim Reeves Enterprises when it created a museum for that entertainer in Madison, Tennessee.
In recent years Charlie Lamb has been featured in such music videos as Hank Williams Jr.s Young Country (1988) and Ray Stevens Get Serious (1995). His commercial work includes ads for Toyota, General Motors, Godfathers Pizza, Chrysler, Dodge Trucks, Dollar General Stores, BellSouth, Frito-Lay and many others. He was a frequent guest on the TNN cable show Nashville Now during the 1980s.  Lamb also had supporting roles in the Burt Reynolds movie W.W. & The Dixie Dance Kings(1975), the Bruce Willis movie In Country (1989), Jim Varneys Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) and the Melanie Griffith/Jeremy Irons film Lolita (1997).
Lamb served as the founding chairman of ROPE (Reunion of Professional Entertainers) in 1983. He published his autobiography, The Country Music World of Charlie Lamb, in 1986. He became a familiar figure at Fan Fair throughout the 1990s as the talent coordinator for the Great Escape booths popular autograph sessions with vintage celebrities.
Belated recognition has finally been coming his way. Earlier this year at the annual Country Music Conference at Belmont University, an annual award was introduced in his honor: The Charlie Lamb Excellence in Country Music Journalism prize will be presented beginning in 2001 to deserving reporters in the print, broadcasting and internet fields. During Fan Fairs Golden Voice Awards banquet in June, Bill Anderson presented Lamb with a Golden Circle Award.
As a journalist, promoter and publicist Charlie Lamb helped turn a lot of careers into legends, and in so doing, he became one himself. This event is his industrys way of saying, Thank you. The Charlie Lamb Reception is a GIFT (Giving in Faith Together) benefit event.

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