Jerry Bradley, who headed RCA Records’ Nashville office from 1973 to 1982, shares some of his best stories in this career-spanning interview held April 28, 2012, to coincide with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition "Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player."
During the program, Bradley shares memories of learning to engineer and produce records while assisting his father, legendary Music Row producer Owen Bradley, at the family’s Bradley’s Barn studio. After working as a publisher with his family's Forest Hills Music, Jerry Bradley joined RCA Records as Atkins's assistant and succeeded Atkins as head of RCA Nashville from 1973 to 1982.
Bradley describes the experience of taking the job at RCA, even though Atkins’ reserved disposition stood in contrast to Owen Bradley’s boisterous behavior in the studio. As Atkins’ assistant, Bradley became a familiar point of contact with the New York office. When Atkins followed through on his long-held desire to leave his executive role at RCA, Bradley took the reins.
In addition to signing Alabama and Ronnie Milsap, Jerry Bradley played a major role in country's Outlaw phenomenon (although he credits Hazel Smith with the name). In detail, Bradley remembers how he envisioned the compilation that would become country music’s first million-selling album, 1977’s “Wanted: The Outlaws,” which included songs from Country Music Hall of Fame members Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings along with Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser. Bradley also talks about his challenges while dealing with the lawyers affiliated with the artists and offers insight about the collection’s creative packaging.
Elsewhere, Bradley speaks about producing albums for RCA artist (and Country Music Hall of Fame member) Charley Pride as well as friendships with industry figures such as musician David Briggs and producer Tom Collins.
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