|Date of Birth||27 October 1933, Samti, Louisiana, USA|
|Date of Death||31 December 1997, Madison, Tennessee, USA (lung cancer)|
Mini Bio (1)
Legendary country pianist Floyd Cramer, one of the men responsible for what became known as "The Nashville Sound", was born on Oct. 27, 1933, in Shreveport, Louisiana, but grew up in Huttig, Arkansas. As a young boy he taught himself to play the piano, and after finishing high school went back to Shreveport, where his musical abilities landed him a job on the "Louisiana Hayride" radio show as a pianist. In 1953 he cut his first single, "Dancin' Diane", for Abbott Records. Shortly afterward he hooked up with a young singer with whom he would form a close personal and professional bond--Elvis Presley.
Cramer relocated to Nashville in 1955, at a time when piano accompaniment on country music songs was becoming popular, and he found more work than he could handle. He soon became one of the busiest session musicians in the business, playing on the records of such luminaries as Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley--he played piano on "Heartbreak Hotel"--and Roy Orbison, among others. It was during these sessions that Cramer developed the practice of "slip notes", in which a note would flow effortlessly into the next--a sea change from the "percussive" style of piano playing prevalent at the time.
Although he was a top studio musician in Nashville, few people outside of the music business knew who he was. He had been recording and releasing his own records since the early '50s, but recognition didn't come for him until 1960, when he released the mournful instrumental "Last Date", which was a classic example of his "slip note" style of playing. The record hit #2 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and wound up selling more than one million copies. The next year he had another hit, "On the Rebound", which went to #3 (and #1 in the UK). In the mid-'60s he, guitar legend Chet Atkins and sax master Boots Randolph toured the US as "The Million Dollar Band".
In 1997 Floyd Cramer died of lung cancer, and is buried in Madison, Tennessee.
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