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Elton Britt

Elton Britt parlayed his Jimmie Rodgers imitation -- with a yodeling ability and range that surpassed Rodgers' -- into country's biggest hit of the World War II era, "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere," which sold four million copies in the early '40s. He was born James Britt Baker in Zack, AR, on June 27, 1913, and began playing guitar and singing around his hometown while in his mid-teens. Baker's career was made in 1930 when the Beverly Hill Billies returned from California to their Arkansas home to recruit a new vocalist. He won the talent search, and after being renamed Elton Britt, spent three years performing and recording with the Hill Billies. Britt moved to New York in 1933, initially playing in a quartet named Pappy, Zeke, Ezra & Elton. He recorded later in the '30s, as a solo act and also with the Wenatchee Mountaineers, Zeke Manners' Gang, and the Rustic Rhythm Trio.

Britt began his period of fame in 1939, thanks to two circumstances: his signature on a contract for the discount label RCA Bluebird and -- most importantly -- his friendship with songwriter/producer Bob Miller. Miller wrote all of Elton Britt's greatest early hits, including "Chime Bells," "Rocky Mountain Lullaby," "Buddy Boy," "Driftwood on the River," and in 1942, "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere." The latter was adopted as a symbol of the war effort by patriotic audiences -- much as "Over There" had served World War I sympathizers. President Franklin Roosevelt even invited Britt -- billed as "the World's Highest Yodeler" -- to the White House in 1942 to perform the hit.

By the time the charts came into existence in 1944, though, Britt had peaked. He did hit the Country Top Ten 11 times during the last half of the '40s, but never topped the charts. "Someday" reached number two in 1946, and six other songs peaked in the Top Five, including the double-sided "Wave to Me, My Lady"/"Blueberry Lane," "Detour," "Gotta Get Together With My Gal," "Candy Kisses," and "Quicksilver." A re-recording of his early hit "Chime Bells" hit number six. Britt continued recording with RCA, eventually releasing over 50 albums until 1957, when he moved to ABC/Paramount. He made a brief bid for the presidency in 1960, and recorded the number 26 "Jimmie Rodgers Blues" eight years later, but retired soon after. He died on June 22, 1972. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Country Music's Yodelling Cowboy Crooner

2. Broken Wings

3. Where Are You Now?

4. Why Did You Leave Me Alone?

5. Cowpoke

6. Gotta Get Together With My Gal

7. There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

8. Just Because You're In Deep Elem

9. Quicksilver

11. Thanks For The Heartache

13. Merry Maiden Polka

14. One For The Wonder

15. Close Your Eyes And Dream

16. You'll Be Sorry From Now On

17. Maybe I'll Cry Over You

18. Buddy Boy

19. Too Tired To Care

20. She Taught Me To Yodel

21. I Get The Blues When It Rains

24. Put My Little Shoes Away

25. Will You Wait For Me Little Darlin'

26. Too Many Tears

27. Acres Of Diamonds (Mountains Of Gold)

28. Chime Bells

x

Track List: The RCA Years

1. Patent Leather Boots

3. There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

5. I'm A Convict With Old Glory In My Heart

7. Blue Texas Moonlight

9. Detour

10. Rogue River Valley

11. Gotta Get Together With My Gal

12. Chime Bells

13. Maybe I'll Cry Over You

17. Quicksilver

18. The Yodel Blues

20. Cannonball Yodel

21. The Skater's Yodel

Comments

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How does Pandora Not have Uranium Fever? That song is so fun!
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Beautiful, the man could sing ballads, country, pops and jazz he was far ahead of his years.
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I gotta find somebody who gives yodeling lessons.
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Elton Britt was a legend in his time...This is music...real music is a lost art...they just don't makem like they used to....take me back ta the good ol' days anytime...I' m ready. After this I'll sleep well tanight....W O W PANDORA ROCKS!!!!
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brlhendren
Elton Britt is Pure and with out any doubdt The King Of All Yodelers There are some good yodelers around even today but even they'll admit that Elton Britt can't be beat
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Elton Britt was a star because he never missed a note and his unique voice was smooth and clear. He was probably the best yodeler ever and his Cannonball Yodel was evident of the unbelievable range of his vocal cords.......

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