Jerry Bradley, Who Served Remake Nation Music, Dies at 83

Jerry Bradley, a record executive who apprenticed with two of the most storied producers in country songs — his father, Owen Bradley, and the guitarist Chet Atkins — just before tough that legacy and shaking up the sector, died on Monday at his house in Mount Juliet, Tenn., in the vicinity of Nashville. He was 83.

His demise was introduced by Elice Cuff-Campbell, senior director of media relations for BMI Nashville. No cause was presented.

Mr. Bradley was finest regarded as the driving force behind “Wanted! The Outlaws,” the groundbreaking 1976 compilation that includes songs by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Tompall Glaser and Mr. Jennings’s spouse, Jessi Colter.

Rowdy and irreverent, the file was an out-of-remaining-area achievements, accredited by the Recording Field Association of The usa as the very first million-selling album in the heritage of country songs. It also ruffled the Nashville standing quo, posing a threat to the hegemony of the smooth Nashville Audio affiliated with the function of Mr. Bradley’s father and Mr. Atkins.

The term “outlaw” had been attaining traction in country circles since the early 1970s, when the publicist Hazel Smith and some others started out employing it to describe the do-it-your self, anti-institution ethos of Mr. Nelson and Mr. Jennings. But it was Jerry Bradley, then head of the Nashville division of RCA Records, who had the foresight to package deal the rising outlaw aesthetic and encourage it to a broader community.

That bundled modeling the album’s deal with soon after a Western-design “most wanted” poster sporting mug shots of the 4 singers on the report. And in a nod to the outlaw movement’s more youthful, more rock-oriented viewers, Mr. Bradley enlisted the Rolling Stone journalist Chet Flippo to produce the liner notes.

“The physical appearance and the promoting of the album ended up extremely significant in earning Nashville look hip for the to start with time,” Mr. Flippo said in discussing Mr. Bradley’s achievement in a section of the 2003 BBC documentary collection “Lost Highway: The Story of Place Songs.”

Developing on the unprecedented results of “Wanted!,” Mr. Bradley would go on to indication future superstars like Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbitt and the band Alabama in the course of his 9-yr tenure at RCA. Just about every of people acts would release quite a few No. 1 hits for the label although reinvigorating the region airwaves with far more large-ranging pop, rock and soul sensibilities.

Mr. Bradley also directed the occupations of numerous proven state stars when at RCA. He developed chart-topping late-1970s hits for Charley Delight and supervised the building of “Here You Occur Again” (1977), Dolly Parton’s initial million-promoting album. He was even associated in Elvis Presley’s mid-’70s return to the major of the state charts after an pretty much 20-yr absence, re-establishing his connection with his core region audience soon prior to his demise.

“I wasn’t so considerably a musical chief,” Mr. Bradley mentioned, evaluating his legacy in an job interview commemorating his induction into the Place Audio Hall of Fame in 2019. “I was a lot more of a coach.”

Jerry Owen Bradley was born in Nashville on Jan. 30, 1940, 1 of two small children of William Bradley, identified as Owen, and Mary (Franklin) Bradley, recognised as Katherine. His father, a previous orchestra chief, turned a person of the main architects of the Nashville Audio by means of his operate as a producer for the likes of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. His mother was a homemaker.

Jerry graduated from Hillsboro Large Faculty and as a teen raced sports autos at the Nashville speedway.

In the early 1960s, immediately after attending Peabody College or university, he commenced performing at Forest Hills Music, the family’s music publishing enterprise. He also started out spending time at the Bradley’s Barn recording studio, the place, underneath the tutelage of his father and his Uncle Harold (both are also users of the Region Songs Hall of Fame), he observed periods by the likes of Joan Baez, Brenda Lee and Dinah Shore and on celebration contributed to them.

In 1970, eager to forge his own path in the tunes company, Mr. Bradley went to get the job done for Chet Atkins at RCA, in which he grew to become a liaison with the label’s headquarters in New York. A few years later on, when cancer curtailed Mr. Atkins’s functions, Mr. Bradley succeeded him as head of RCA’s Nashville operations.

Mr. Bradley left RCA in 1982 and, just after a quick hiatus, became common manager of the Opryland New music Group, which had just lately acquired Acuff-Rose, the audio publisher whose holdings involved the catalogs of luminaries like Hank Williams, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. Not 1 to relaxation on his laurels, Mr. Bradley recruited a new technology of songwriters, together with Kenny Chesney, prior to his retirement in 2002.

A longtime board member of the Place Songs Affiliation, Mr. Bradley performed a crucial part in the growth of the CMA Tunes Competition. Held yearly in Nashville given that the early 1970s (when it was termed Admirer Truthful), the event showcases some 400 artists executing for 100,000 or so enthusiasts about 4 times.

Mr. Bradley is survived by a daughter, Leigh Jankiv a son, Clay five grandchildren five excellent-grandchildren and a sister, Patsy Bradley. Connie (Darnell) Bradley, his wife of 42 many years and a popular executive in the country tunes business, died in 2021. His marriage to Gwynn Hastings Kellam, the mom of his youngsters, finished in divorce she died in 2001.

“Greatness does not occur by way of blood it is reached through action and invention,” Kyle Young, chief government of the Nation Tunes Hall of Fame and Museum, stated, reflecting on Mr. Bradley’s entrepreneurship at the Bradley Corridor of Fame induction.

“Jerry Bradley had his father, Owen, and his uncle, Harold, as north stars,” Mr. Younger went on. “He understood that he could not imitate or reproduce their presents or their manners. He would have to come across his have route.”

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