Jimmy Driftwood is a well-known American songwriter from 1925 to 1975. Today, we remember him by listening to his top hit songs that were performed by famous country singers.
Driftwood was born on June 20, 1907, in Arkansas. His love for music and songwriting were because of his father Neil Morris, who was a folk singer. However, Driftwood did pursue a career in music immediately. He had a degree in education. Driftwood used the songs he wrote to teach his students and to keep them interested in history.
It was in 1957 when he officially started working as a songwriter and musician. It was also on that year he first released his album Newly Discovered Early American Folk Songs.
“The Battle of New Orleans”
“The Battle of the New Orleans” was written by Jimmy Driftwood in the 30’s for his high school class. He wrote the song to help his students know about the history of the war in 1812. Isn’t it amazing that he was able to write something beautiful and at the same time teach something for his students to learn? “The Battle of New Orleans” was first released by Driftwood but by those time it wasn’t popular. It was not until 1959 when Johnny Horton recorded the song that it was able to reach the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Jimmy based the melody of his song from a fiddle tune called “The 8th of January.” Aside from entering the Country Charts it also peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart.
Another song that made Jimmy Driftwood famous was “Tennessee Stud.” He released this song the same year with “The Battle of the New Orleans.” “Tennessee Stud” was made popular by Eddy Arnold. His version of Driftwood’s song peaked at No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart the same year. “Tennessee Stud” was Jimmy Driftwood’s most recorded song.
Other Things About Jimmy Driftwood
He won his first Grammy for Song of the Year (The Battle of New Orleans) in 1959. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in the 50’s. Other than writing and performing songs Jimmy was also an environmentalist.
Jimmy died at the age of 91 when he had a heart attack.