Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

HOWARD, Harlan

(b 8 Sep. '29, Lexington KY) Country singer; one of the most successful songwriters in the history of country music, a genre that still values songs. Grew up in Detroit, became paratrooper based in Georgia; later moved to LA and worked as bookbinder while trying to get songs published. Johnny Bond and Tex Ritter took an interest, published first hit 'Pick Me Up On Your Way Down' (a no. 2 hit by Charlie Walker '58); then 'Heartaches By The Number' (no. 2 country by Ray Price, no. 1 pop by Guy Mitchell), 'Mommie For A Day' (no. 5 by Kitty Wells), all '59; 'Excuse Me (I Think I've Got A Heartache)' (Buck Owens), 'Too Many Rivers' (Brenda Lee), 'I Fall To Pieces' (Patsy Cline), 'Tiger By The Tail' (Owens), 'No Charge' (Tammy Wynette), 'Busted' (Ray Charles), too many more big hits to list. Married Jan Howard '60, moved to Nashville; she sang on his demo records and had hits of her own. Harlan won a record ten BMI songwriting awards '61, earned royalties that year in excess of $100,000. Founded Wilderness Music; made records on Capitol, Monument, RCA, Nugget without major hits of his own. He was still writing '90s, often with younger writers like Gary Harrison, Dean Dillon etc; later hits incl. 'Why Not Me' (the Judds), 'Somebody Should Leave' (Reba McIntire), 'Somewhere Tonight' (Highway 101). Albums incl. 1965 Disc Jockey Poll Award: All Time Favorite Country Song- writer '65 on Monument, reissued '96 on Koch International.