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About Charlie Feathers

  • Rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers was born Arthur Lyndbergh Feathers on June 12, 1932, near Slayden & Holly Springs, Mississippi. He spent his childhood in and around the small town of Holly Springs, one of six children, and by the age of nine, had learned to play the guitar. He was introduced to the acoustic instrument by none other than Junior Kimbrough, who provided him with valuable lessons and whom Feathers described as "the greatest musician in the world."    

    Feathers developed an interest in music at a very young age, singing in church and regularly tuning into the Grand Ole Opry. The Opry offered Charlie his first fleeting taste of Bill Monroe, who would soon become a formative influence on him, as would the sharecroppers who worked the fields in the backwoods near his Mississippi home.

    Honky-tonk great Hank Williams's MGM recordings of the period also impressed Charlie, and Williams's lonesome hillbilly whine soon rubbed off on him. A few years later, Charlie would combine all these influences—Monroe's high-pitched hollering, the atmosphere of a Hank Williams record, and a cotton-patch 12-bar guitar riff of his own—to form a country music style uniquely his.
       
    Feathers left school at a young age, after third grade, and sought work on the oil pipelines of Illinois and then in Texas, where, guitar in hand, he would hit the honky-tonks and juke joints in his spare time, providing valuable experience in playing the live circuit.

    By the early '50s, Feathers moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he took up work at a local box manufacturing factory. It was during a hospital stay for spinal meningitis not long after that Feathers, found the time to write the song "Peepin' Eyes," which would become his debut record, released by Sam Phillips's Sun Records in February 1955. After over a year with Sun, Feathers went on to sign with the King label in 1956 and would record a number seminal rockabilly tunes with that label and several others in the coming years.    

    In 1990, after decades in the business, Feathers recorded a self-titled album for Elektra/Nonesuch. Featured on the record is the tune "We Can't Seem to Remember to Forget," an undeniable reference to "I Forgot to Remember to Forget," a song he'd written during his years with Phillips and for which he felt he wasn't properly credited, though it became a huge hit for Sun as Elvis Presley's first Top Ten hit.

    Charlie Feathers died on August 29, 1998, after suffering from a stoke; he was 66 years old.

Charlie Feathers

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on June 16, 2009 - 5:48pm
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Rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers was born Arthur Lyndbergh Feathers on June 12, 1932, near Slayden & Holly Springs, Mississippi. He spent his childhood in and around the small town of Holly Springs, one of six children, and by the age of nine, had learned to play the guitar. He was introduced to the acoustic instrument by none other than Junior Kimbrough, who provided him with valuable lessons and whom Feathers described as "the greatest musician in the world."    

Feathers developed an interest in music at a very young age, singing in church and regularly tuning into the Grand Ole Opry. The Opry offered Charlie his first fleeting taste of Bill Monroe, who would soon become a formative influence on him, as would the sharecroppers who worked the fields in the backwoods near his Mississippi home.

Honky-tonk great Hank Williams's MGM recordings of the period also impressed Charlie, and Williams's lonesome hillbilly whine soon rubbed off on him. A few years later, Charlie would combine all these influences—Monroe's high-pitched hollering, the atmosphere of a Hank Williams record, and a cotton-patch 12-bar guitar riff of his own—to form a country music style uniquely his.
   
Feathers left school at a young age, after third grade, and sought work on the oil pipelines of Illinois and then in Texas, where, guitar in hand, he would hit the honky-tonks and juke joints in his spare time, providing valuable experience in playing the live circuit.

By the early '50s, Feathers moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he took up work at a local box manufacturing factory. It was during a hospital stay for spinal meningitis not long after that Feathers, found the time to write the song "Peepin' Eyes," which would become his debut record, released by Sam Phillips's Sun Records in February 1955. After over a year with Sun, Feathers went on to sign with the King label in 1956 and would record a number seminal rockabilly tunes with that label and several others in the coming years.    

In 1990, after decades in the business, Feathers recorded a self-titled album for Elektra/Nonesuch. Featured on the record is the tune "We Can't Seem to Remember to Forget," an undeniable reference to "I Forgot to Remember to Forget," a song he'd written during his years with Phillips and for which he felt he wasn't properly credited, though it became a huge hit for Sun as Elvis Presley's first Top Ten hit.

Charlie Feathers died on August 29, 1998, after suffering from a stoke; he was 66 years old.

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