Over the years I produced countless records and wrote over thirty songs that became hits, but few of them have been as heartfelt and emotional as the song Ronnie Hammond and I wrote one cold January day in 1983. Ronnie is the lead singer for The Atlanta Rhythm Section, a group I formed in 1970.
We had rented a cabin on Lake Lanier near Atlanta with the intention of writing another hit for ARS, but the funeral procession carrying Bear Bryant’s body from Tuscaloosa to it’s final resting place in Birmingham stopped us in our tracks. We were taking a break and turned o
n the television as Keith Jackson’s haunting voice narrated the scene of thousands lining Interstate 20/59 to honor their hero. Every overpass was packed with mourning fans and onlookers as we watched mesmerized and misty eyed. Ronnie began softly playing a hymn-like melody on his guitar. At that point we forgot about our mission to write another rock and roll masterpiece and spent the rest of that sad day composing “The Day Bear Bryant Died.”
23 years later, my friend Harrison Parrish (co-founder of Movie Gallery) had dinner with my wife and I at our home on Lake Eufaula and I played him a dust-covered demo of our old song about the Bear. We had never released it – we just considered it a proud accomplishment of two Bama fans. Harrison was moved by the song, and wanted to share it with his friends from the Class of 1970 at the University of Alabama, his alma mater.
That dinner conversation spawned this CD, which features our “lost song” plus nine other tracks dedicated to the Bama nation. I want to thank Ronnie Hammond, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Cook and Glenn, and Tom Stipe for their creative contributions. Special thanks to Harrison Parrish, Robert Register, The Image Agency and Gloria Buie. My dream is for “The Day Bear Bryant Died” to become an anthem for the Bama Nation. My hope is that this CD will be blasting from your speakers as you and your friends celebrate another Crimson Tide victory.
|© 2006 Buddy Buie Enterprises