Elton Britt was one of the gems of country music in the 1940’s. Though he had a long-running successful career as a country artist, not so much information is really known about him. It was his own choice, he wanted to keep his life in private. Once he finished singing and goes offstage, his charisma vanished, and he enjoys his quite normal life.
Born on June 27, 1913, Elton grew from a musical family in Marshall, Arkansas. Known as a “blue baby,” he was a sickly child and wasn’t named until he was over a year. They thought he might not survive this life. James Elton Baker is his real name, his family and friends call him “Cute.” At the age of ten, he purchased his first guitar through a mail from Mongomery Ward.
The musical journey
The door for stardom opened to Elton in the summer of 1930 when he was hired to replace his friend Hugh Ashley, another young yodeler, in the Beverly Hill Billies, a popular group during that time. Joining the band, he used the name Elton Britt. His first documented recordings were on August 1933 under Conqueror label. His signature song, “Chime Bells” was released in June 1934. He co-wrote the song with his brother Vernon.
Britt was known for his yodeling style most often compared to Jimmie Rodgers. He left a heavy influence on most subsequent yodelers in country music. His most successful and most popular song is “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere.” It received a gold record award for selling more than a million records. Also, his song “Uranium Fever” is featured in the 2015 video game Fallout 4.
Aside from his recordings, Elton Britt also journeyed from the film industry. He appeared in a couple of movies. He first appeared in The Last Doggie in 1933 directed by James Melton.
Britt was married four times. On June 22, 1972, he suffered a heart attack while driving his car and died in a hospital the next day. A monument listing many of his hit songs was encrypted over his grave.
Elton Britt, Uranium Fever
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