Signed to the major label Capitol Records in 1985, T. Graham Brown reached country superstardom with his unique mix of old-time rock ‘n roll, R&B, country, and blues. He went on to record fifteen albums and charted more than twenty singles on the country charts – three of which reached No. 1.
Truly, he has one of the most illustrious careers in the genre. Let’s celebrate T. Graham Brown‘s musical achievements by looking at some facts about him that you might not have heard before.
1. He’s a native of Arabi, Georgia.
Born Anthony Graham Brown on October 30, 1954, Brown kicked off his musical career during his stay at the University of Georgia. Brown and a guitar-playing friend formed a duo and began playing at a music lounge across the campus. Soon enough, the lounge was jam-packed with audiences singing along with the duo. Brown said he was earning $600 a week at the time.
2. He was an outfielder and pitcher in high school.
During his teenage years, Brown was much keener on swinging his bat rather than belting out soul music. He actually enrolled at the University of Georgia with the hopes of joining the big leagues. However, the baseball coach benched Brown and he turned his attention to singing.
3. He was inspired by outlaw country singer David Allan Coe.
In 1975, the typical fraternity-looking Brown unleashed his wild side after watching a documentary about David Allan Coe. Brown grew his hair, ditched his button-down shirts and khaki pants, got a tattoo, and launched a hard-country band called Reo Diamond.
4. He’s behind some of the popular advertising jingles.
His voice could be heard hawking on commercials by McDonald’s, Disneyland, Coca-Cola, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, among many others. Brown was also the singing narrator in Taco Bell’s “Run For the Border” television spots.
5. He’s a married man.
In 1980, Brown married Sheila, a master’s degree graduate at the University of Georgia, majoring in nutrition and dairy science. However, Sheila gave up her academic field to support Brown’s musical ambitions. Sheila had to work at a department store during the day and as a waitress at night. The couple was blessed with a son, Acme Geronimo Brown.
6. He was diagnosed to have bipolar at 44.
Brown was bipolar, and his condition had gone undiagnosed for many decades. As a teenager, Brown had difficulty keeping his focus and falling asleep. His thoughts have always been on race. He was even on the verge of suicide quite a few times.
7. He still keeps his 1959 Ford station wagon.
Brown and his wife loaded up their 1959 Ford Station Wagon, which they call “Ruby,” and made the journey to Nashville to chase after Brown’s musical dreams. Little did they know that T. Graham Brown songs would make a massive impact on country music today. And he’s not letting the classic vehicle go anytime soon. “I’ll always have that,” the country icon said. “It was a good luck charm.”
8. He also struggled with substance abuse.
Unfortunately, Brown had a tough battle with alcoholism and substance abuse, which started to take its toll on his career. He even found himself sitting in the same therapy session with fellow country star Keith Whitley. Still, Whitley’s death didn’t straighten him a bit. Until one day, he looked into the mirror and asked God for some help. Since then, “it was like it was gone all of a sudden. It was a miracle to me,” he said.
Today, T. Graham Brown is enjoying his sober days with his wife and doing the thing he loves most, making music.
T. Graham Brown