Felice and Boudleaux Bryant

BMI dinner in 1976 with Frances Preston and published in Nashville Tennessean.

Phil, Patricia, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant

Last update on July 3, 5:41 pm by Chris.
Renowned Songwriter Felice Bryant dies at 77

Nashville - Tuesday, April 22, 2003 -- Felice Bryant, who wrote some of the most popular songs in the history of Rock & Roll and Country music with her husband Boudleaux Bryant, died this morning at her home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She was 77 years of age and had been diagnosed with cancer.

It has been estimated that the 800 recorded titles written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant have sold more than a half billion copies worldwide. Among their hits are "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bye Bye Love" recorded by the Everly Brothers, "Raining In My Heart" recorded by Buddy Holly and the Tennessee state song "Rocky Top."

Visitation for Felice Bryant will be held in Sevierville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, April 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Atchley Funeral Home [865/453-2835] and then in Nashville on Thursday, April 24, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home [615/383-4754]. The family will also receive visitors on Friday, April 25 from 1 to 1:30 p.m. before the 2 p.m. memorial service, also at Woodlawn. Survivors include two sons, real estate executive Dane Bryant and BMI Executive Vice President Del Bryant; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and a sister.

From their first hit in 1948 throughout the next four decades, the Bryants proved themselves to be among the most pioneering and influential music creators of the 20th century. They supplied songs to an astounding variety of voices -- Eddy Arnold, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Tony Bennett, Simon & Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughan, the Grateful Dead, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello, Count Basie, Dean Martin, Ruth Brown, Cher, R.E.M. and Ray Charles, among dozens – and launched the career of the Everly Brothers with several signature records.

Felice Bryant was born Matilda Genevieve Scaduto on August 7, 1925 in Milwaukee, into a music-loving Italian family. As a child she began composing lyrics set to traditional Italian tunes, and in her teens sang in and directed shows at the local USO. In 1945, while working as an elevator attendant at Milwaukee’s Schroeder Hotel, she struck up a conversation with a visiting musician from Georgia named Boudleaux Bryant. They eloped two days later. In the early years of their marriage, Boudleaux and Felice (a pet name from her husband) traveled around the country while Boudleaux, a classically trained-violinist, played with various jazz and country bands. Eventually, they settled in his native Moultrie, Georgia, and began to dabble in songwriting. After writing 80 songs and suffering months of rejection, they secured their first hit when legendary publisher Fred Rose heard “Country Boy.” Rose placed the song with Grand Ole Opry newcomer Little Jimmy Dickens, who recorded “Country Boy” in 1948 and took it to the Country Top 10 in June 1949. At the urging of their mentor Rose, the Bryants moved to Nashville in 1950; they are generally considered the first people who came to the country music capital to make their living solely as songwriters.

The Bryants were also early pioneers of song promotion and self-publishing in Music City, forming Showcase Music (1954-56) before entering an innovative contract with Acuff-Rose Music Publishing [negotiating for then-unheard-of reversionary rights]. They found success with a string of country singles for Dickens (“Out Behind the Barn,” “I’m Little But I’m Loud”), Carl Smith (“Hey Joe” [also a pop hit for Frankie Laine], “It’s A Lovely, Lovely World,” “This Orchid Means The End”), Eddy Arnold (“The Richest Man In the World,” “I’ve Been Thinkin’”) and Jim Reeves (“Blue Boy”). Mrs. Bryant usually collaborated with her husband, but earned a huge hit on her own with “We Could,” appropriately a song she had written as a birthday gift to Boudleaux. Among the artists who have recorded “We Could” are Jim Reeves, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Kitty Wells, George Morgan, the Louvin Brothers, Charley Pride, Al Martino and John Prine.

The Bryants’ considerable success in the country arena would soon be surpassed when, in 1957, they scored two #1 pop hits on up-and-comers the Everly Brothers with “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie.” The partnership between the pairs would result in numerous Rock & Roll classics; the Bryants provided the Everlys with virtually all of their early hits, including the Boudleaux /Felice co-writes “Problems,” “Poor Jenny” and “Take A Message To Mary.” (“All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Devoted To You” and “Love Hurts”’ are credited solely to Boudleaux.) “Raining In My Heart,” first offered to the Everlys, was passed on to Buddy Holly and recorded at his final session in 1958. The Bryant classics continued with “I Got A Hole In My Pocket,” “She Wears My Ring,” “Have A Good Time,” “Sleepless Nights,” “Come Live With Me” and “Rocky Top” (adopted as a Tennessee state song in 1982). In 1966 the duo’s contract with Acuff-Rose ended and, with the publishing rights reverted to their ownership, they established House of Bryant Publications.

The couple moved to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 1978, where they owned and operated the Rocky Top Village Inn in the Great Smoky Mountains. In 1979 Boudleaux produced their only album as performers, A Touch of Bryant.

Boudleaux Bryant died June 26, 1987, at the age of 67.

Among the Bryants' many industry honors are membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame (1991), the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters Hall of Fame (1986) and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1972). Affiliated with performing rights organization BMI throughout their careers, Felice & Boudleaux earned a total of 59 BMI Pop, Country and R & B Awards.

Phil and Patti attended Felice's funeral which took place at Woodlawn Cemetery.

The photo of Felice in #17 is stunning of her and is from the same photo shoot as the one used for the cover of the song "We Could" which Felice sang with Phil.

Boudleaux Bryant Dies at 67; Writer of Country Music Hits
Article Published: June 28, 1987

Diadorius Boudleaux Bryant
Birthdate: February 13th 1920
Death: June 25th 1987 (67)
Immediate Family: Son of Daniel Green Bryant and Louise "Lou" Bryant
Husband of Felice Bryant

Boudleaux Bryant, who with his wife, Felice, wrote numerous country music hits, including most of the Everly Brothers standards, died of cancer on Thursday at Baptist Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. He was 67 years old and lived in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Mr. Bryant's songwriting credits included ''All I Have to Do Is Dream,'' ''Bye Bye Love,'' ''Wake Up Little Susie'' and ''Devoted to You.''

He was born in Shellman, Ga., studied the classical violin and, in 1938, performed with the Atlanta Philharmonic. He took his first job as a western swing fiddler in the early 1940's, and in 1945, while on tour in Milwaukee, he met Felice Scaduto. After a brief courtship, they were married. A Successful Team.

The Bryants had their first success with Little Jimmy Dickens's 1948 recording of their song, ''Country Boy,'' which prompted the music publisher Fred Rose to invite them to Nashville where they soon established themselves as one of the city's earliest and most successful songwriting teams.

After writing country hits for Carl Smith, Eddy Arnold and others, the couple were assigned in 1957 to write songs for the Everly Brothers, who were then rising young performers. Starting with ''Bye Bye Love,'' they created most of the songs that shaped the brothers' career, with 12 of the 27 songs they wrote for them becoming major hits.

Other important titles in a career that produced more than 700 published songs were ''Bird Dog,'' ''Love Hurts,'' ''Mexico,'' ''Problems'' and the bluegrass standard ''Rocky Top,'' which was named the official Tennessee state song in 1981.

He is survived by his wife and two sons, Del and Dane, both of Nashville.


In the spring of 1945, 19-year-old Matilda Genevieve Scaduto was working as an elevator operator at the Schroeder Hotel in Milwaukee. One afternoon, she struck up a conversation with one of the guests, a musician from Georgia with the poetic name of Diadorius Boudleaux Bryant. Five days later, Matilda and Boudleaux ran off together and one of the great songwriting partnerships was born.

Over the next 30 years, the couple would write nearly 6,000 songs together, selling over 200 million records with artists such as Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Buddy Holly, Eddy Arnold, Bobbie Gentry, Gram Parsons, Simon & Garfunkel and most memorably, the Everly Brothers. The Bryants’ list of classics includes “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Love Hurts” and “Rocky Top.”

Felice (which was Boudleaux’s pet name for his wife) believed that the couple’s meeting was fate. “I had dreamed of Boudleaux when I was 8 years old,” she said. “When this man was walking toward me in the hotel I recognized him right away. The only thing that was wrong was that he didn’t have a beard. Although he grew one for me later. In the dream we were dancing to our song. Only it was oursong.”

In the early years of their marriage, the couple settled in Moultrie, Ga. Boudleaux continued to work as a musician and a mechanic, while his wife started dabbling in songwriting. “I always wrote,” Felice said. “I wrote letters and poetry that I would tear up so that they couldn’t be found. I wrote all the time, even if I was only doodling. I had to have someone to talk to, so I talked to myself. I don’t read music. I don’t play an instrument. The words themselves will have a musical value. That’s how I can compose a melody. Then Boudleaux will write the music down, or I’ll turn on the tape machine.”

“We started writing for the hell of it, for fun,” Boudleaux said. “And after about 80 songs we thought, this looks like it could be a good thing. But we originally wrote them for our own amusement, and we’d show them to our friends.”

After months of writing letters to everyone he knew—and didn’t know—in the music business, Boudleaux placed a song called “Country Boy” with Grand Ole Opry singer Little Jimmy Dickens. The song went to No. 7 on the charts in 1949, and by the next year, the Bryants had upped stakes to Nashville.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Boudleaux Bryant, who with his wife wrote the hit songs "Bye, Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie" and the bluegrass standard "Rocky Top," has died of cancer at the age of 67.

Bryant died Thursday night at a hospital here.

He and his wife, Felice, 61, were inducted last year into the prestigious National Songwriters Hall of Fame. Together, they wrote more than 1,500 songs, including "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Raining in My Heart," "Love Hurts," "Devoted to You" and "Come Live With Me."
Of the 27 songs they wrote for the Everly Brothers, 12 became hits. Their works also were recorded by such divergent groups as the Grateful Dead and the Carter Family.

The Bryants composed "Rocky Top" in the 1960s. After it was recorded by the Osborne Brothers, the fast-paced anthem became one of the most-performed songs in the history of bluegrass music. It was voted one of several unofficial Tennessee state songs in 1982.

Guitarist-producer Chet Atkins, a close associate of the Bryants since 1951, said Bryant "changed the direction of music all over the world through his songs for the Everly Brothers."

Bryant studied classical violin as a child and played one season with the Atlanta Philharmonic. Atkins said Bryant got his unusual first name because his father's life was saved during World War I by a Frenchman named Boudleaux.
Bryant met Felice Scaduto while playing pop music in Milwaukee in 1945. They married after a brief courtship.

The couple started writing songs together when Bryant set his wife's poetry to music. Their first major success was Jimmy Dickens' 1948 recording of "Country Boy."
Other entertainers who recorded their songs included Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Simon and Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughn, Buddy Holly and Ray Charles.

“At the time, in the field that we flopped into, the artists wrote and performed all of their own material,” Felice recalled. “Then, after a while, the road got to them. They couldn’t think, they couldn’t doodle around on the front porch with a guitar, they couldn’t stroll through the woods and get inspired. So Boudleaux and I were the first people who came to Nashville who didn’t do anything but write. We were the factory.”

They were signed by Acuff-Rose Publishing and scored with a few more hits, including “Hey Joe” by Carl Smith and “I’ve Been Thinking” by Eddy Arnold. In the mid-’50s, with rock ’n’ roll on the rise, the Bryants hit their creative stride when they hooked up with two young harmonizing brothers from Kentucky, Phil and Don Everly. Whether it was a doe-eyed ballad (“Devoted to You”), a novelty song (“Bird Dog”) or a rockabilly tune (“Problems”), the Bryants and the Everlys were a match made in hillbilly heaven.

“Their stuff fit us like a glove, because it was designed to fit,” said Don Everly. “Boudleaux would sit down and talk with us. A lot of his songs were written because he was getting inside our heads—trying to find out where we were going, what we wanted, what words were right.”
“They were masters,” added Phil Everly. “Anybody would be a fool not to watch how they did it. That’s the level that you wanted to be at. I learned more from them than from anybody.”

The Bryants’ biggest song of all was one that had been turned down by everyone in the business. “‘Bye Bye Love’ was shown over 30 times before it was ever cut,” Boudleaux recalled. “It was even shown the very morning of the same day the Everly Brothers heard it in the afternoon. When it was turned down, the fella said, ‘Why don’t you show me a good strong song?’ So nobody really knows what a good song is.”

The pair’s chart run continued from the ’60s through the ’80s with hits by Charley Pride, Glen Campbell, Joe Stampley and Moe Bandy. By the time Boudleaux passed away in 1987, they’d had over 1,500 recordings of their songs. Felice continued to collaborate with various writers, and at the time of her death in 2003, was working on a one-woman play. The pair were inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Of their success, Boudleaux once said, “Unless one feels driven to compose and at the same time has all the instincts of a Mississippi riverboat gambler, he should never seek songwriting as a profession. Unless you know in your heart that you’re great, feel in your bones that you’re lucky and think in your soul that God just might let you get away with it, pick something more certain, like chasing the white whale or eradicating the common housefly. We didn’t have the benefit of such sage advice. Now it’s too late to back up. We made it. Sometimes it pays to be ignorant.”

Last update on August 6, 11:33 am by Chris.
Felice and Boudleaux had a real love story, and not just between the two of them. They were blessed to have written for and worked with not only the Everly Brothers at the beginning of their fantastic musical career, but other famous artists who have been mentioned in the information above!

We are fortunate to have this treasury of information to enjoy and be inspired by!

Here is a visual example of the wealth of their musical compositions:
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