Tennessee Tourism Honors Historic Gatlinburg Inn And Legacy Of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant’s “Rocky Top” With Unveiling Of “Tennessee Music Pathways” Marker

Wednesday, August 25, 2021
- photo by Angela Carathers | Gatlinburg CVB
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development kicked off the first annual Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival with the unveiling of a new “Tennessee Music Pathways” marker to honor the Historic Gatlinburg Inn and the legacy of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant’s “Rocky Top.” Janelle Arthur, Hits & Grins, the All-Star Bluegrass Band featuring Jerry Salley, plus local and state leaders were on hand to mark the special occasion.

“There are very few songs that people know when and where they were written, and ‘Rocky Top’ is the exception,” said David Cross, co-owner of the Gatlinburg Inn.
“As a state song of Tennessee, it is important that it is commemorated here today so that the Gatlinburg Inn will always be known as the birthplace of this great Tennessee tradition.”

“So many of Tennessee’s most celebrated songwriters, including the Bryants, wrote so many hits at the Gatlinburg Inn, including ‘Rocky Top,” said Cara Hogan, Executive Director of Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival. “What an honor it is for the Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival to be headquartered here this weekend.”

Among the most well-known bluegrass songs of all time, “Rocky Top” was written in Aug. 1967 in Room 388 of the Gatlinburg Inn. Originally recorded by the Osborne Brothers, it has become a standard.

Although “Rocky Top” shares some resemblance to Appalachian folk songs and fiddle tunes, it was written by the husband-and-wife team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Known as some of Nashville’s first professional songwriters in the early 1950s, the Bryant’s wrote hits for the Everly Brothers (“Bye, Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Wake up, Little Susie”), Roy Orbison (“Love Hurts”), Buddy Holly (“Raining in My Heart”), Little Jimmy Dickens (“Country Boy,” “We Could”) and many others.

In 1967, East Tennessee singer-comedian-television star Archie Campbell asked the Bryant’s to write some ballads for his forthcoming Golden Years album. The Bryant’s often spent part of the summer in the Smoky Mountains, staying at the area’s oldest hotel, the storied Gatlinburg Inn. They were deep into work on Campbell’s album when they decided to take a break with a bluegrass-style hoe-down song. Within ten or fifteen minutes, they finished “Rocky Top.” To them, it was a nonsense song about a fictional place.

In Nashville, the Bryant’s lived near bluegrass singer Sonny Osborne of the Osborne Brothers. They walked to his house with “Rocky Top,” and Sonny liked it enough to call his brother over to rehearse it. The song was recorded November 16, 1967 and released shortly before year-end. The Osbornes' record peaked at No. 33 on the country charts but has become a standard, recorded by many artists and performed by many more.

The University of Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland Band first played the song during halftime of a football game against the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide October 21, 1972. Music arranger Barry McDonald, who had worked on The Johnny Cash ABC-TV show, created the arrangement. Quickly, it became a staple at every game. The Bryant’s heirs subsequently gave the university the right to play the song royalty-free as often as circumstances dictated.

On Feb. 15, 1982, “Rocky Top” became one of Tennessee's official state songs.
Shown from left to right are General Manager of Historic Gatlinburg Inn Gary Baily, COO Hospitality Solutions, Inc. Davy Thomas, Executive Director of Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival Cara Hogan, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s Director of Outreach Zach Ledbetter, Co-owner of Historic Gatlinburg Inn David Cross and CEO of Gatlinburg CVB Mark Adams
Shown from left to right are General Manager of Historic Gatlinburg Inn Gary Baily, COO Hospitality Solutions, Inc. Davy Thomas, Executive Director of Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival Cara Hogan, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s Director of Outreach Zach Ledbetter, Co-owner of Historic Gatlinburg Inn David Cross and CEO of Gatlinburg CVB Mark Adams

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Celebrates 60 Years Of Preserving Railroad History

3 Days On Wytheville, Virginia Offers Downtown Fun, Outdoors Adventure And homegrown Attractions

Scuba Divers Successfully Carve Pumpkins Underwater Kicking Off ODDtober


The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum has been preserving railroad history since 1961, and this month, it is kicking off a year long celebration that will highlight the museum's 60-year heritage ... (click for more)

Wytheville, Virginia, is a one-of-a-kind town and a visit there is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The allure of this Southwest Virginia destination begins with the fact that it is the ... (click for more)

The month of “ODDtober” got off to a fine start at the Tennessee Aquarium. Two of the Aquarium’s volunteer SCUBA divers demonstrated how to properly carve a Jack-O-Lanterns while underwater. ... (click for more)



Travel

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Celebrates 60 Years Of Preserving Railroad History

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum has been preserving railroad history since 1961, and this month, it is kicking off a year long celebration that will highlight the museum's 60-year heritage with two weekends of special events and displays. On Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17, and again on Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24, the museum will run its best-known steam ... (click for more)

3 Days On Wytheville, Virginia Offers Downtown Fun, Outdoors Adventure And homegrown Attractions

Wytheville, Virginia, is a one-of-a-kind town and a visit there is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The allure of this Southwest Virginia destination begins with the fact that it is the only town in the world named Wytheville (pronounced Withville). Its convenient location and easy access at the crossroads of two major Interstates (I-77 and I-81) make it all the more appealing. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Steam Logistics To Add 400 Jobs And Renovate John Ross Building; Firm Will Seek 9-Year Office PILOT Tax Break

Steam Logistics officials announced that the company will expand its existing operations in downtown Chattanooga, creating more than 400 new jobs. Founded in 2012, the Chattanooga-based logistics business will invest $6.8 million to expand its operations into the historic John Ross building, which will adjoin Steam Logistics’ existing offices at the corner of Broad and Fourth ... (click for more)

58-Year Old Woman Shot On Emma Kate Drive Late Monday Afternoon

A 58-year old woman was shot late Monday afternoon on Emma Kate Drive. At approximately 5:36 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the 2000 block of Emma Kate Drive on a report of a person shot. Upon arrival, officers located a woman suffering from gunshot wounds and secured the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital by Hamilton County EMS with non-life threatening ... (click for more)

Opinion

Tennessee Fans Hit A New Low - And Response (2)

Tennessee Vols fans hit a new low at the end of the UTK vs Ole Miss last evening. Maybe Lane Kiffin did us wrong when he left Knoxville for his dream team back in 2009, however, the crass and repulsive behavior of a large number of Tennessee fans didn’t reflect on Kiffin, it reflected on the great state of Tennessee. Has society really reduced itself to believing that reducing ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Beware Of The Cobra

Over the weekend my “Morning Readings” included a lesson that economists teach called the Cobra Effect. Jon Miltimore is the Managing Editor of the Foundation for Economic Education in Atlanta and his ‘FEE.org’ is a highly respected conservative libertarian economic think tank. In his story you are about to read, he claims economists around the world speak often on The Cobra Effect. ... (click for more)