January 20, 2012 – Larry Butler was born March 26, 1942 in Pensacola, Florida. He began his career at the age of six with the Harry James Orchestra; at age ten he sang with Red Foley, and before he was old enough to drive he had hosted his own radio show and played piano on The Lynn Toney Show, a live television show in his market.At age ten he sang with Red Foley and before he was old enough to drive he had hosted his own radio show and co-hosted a live TV show in his market.
He moved to Nashville and soon his unique style of piano playing supported such hits as “Hello Darlin” by Conway Twitty and “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro. He was in high demand as a Nashville session player and backed up such as Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Bobby Goldsboro, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Lynn Anderson and more.
In 1973 Butler made one of his most significant career moves by joining United Artists Records as head of the label’s Nashville division. His leadership and vision brought in such acts as Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, Dottie West and The Kendalls and established the label as one of the most successful and respected in Nashville.
Butler and Chips Moman and penned the number 1 hit “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song”. Topping the charts for both Pop and Country, the song became one of B. J. Thomas’ greatest career hits. It was a BMI 3 million performance song and earned Butler a Grammy for Song of the Year.
Unquestionably, Butler’s biggest success was producing Kenny Rogers. Their studio collaboration yielded many of Kenny’s greatest hits. From the mid-1970s through the 1980s, he worked with Kenny Rogers. Many of his albums with Rogers went gold or platinum and accumulated many millions of sales around the world.
These albums include Kenny Rogers-1976, The Gambler-1978, Gideon-1980, I Prefer The Moonlight-1987 and If Only My Heart Had A Voice-1993. Larry also participated in Rogers 2006 retrospective DVD The Journey. In 1984 Larry formed his own music company, Larry Butler Music Group, Inc. where he produced the likes of George Strait, Charlie Rich, Keith Whitley, Eddy Raven, Billie Jo Spears, Kenny Rogers, Don McLean, John Denver and Vern Gosdin. Larry was the only Nashville producer to win the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year.
Eventually Butler left UA and started his own independent company, Larry Butler Productions. His acts included
- Charlie Rich (“You’re Gonna Love yourself In The Morning”)
- Mac Davis (“It’s Hard To Be Humble”)
- Debbie Boone (“Are You On The Road To Loving Me Again”)
- Billie Jo Spears (“Blanket On The Ground”)
- Don McLean (“Crying”)
- John Denver (“Some Days Are Diamonds”)
Butler died in his sleep in Pensacola, Florida on January 20, 2012.