Emory Gordy Jr.

born on 25/12/1944

Emory Gordy, Jr.

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Emory Gordy, Jr.

Emory Lee Gordy, Jr., born December 25, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, is an American musician and music producer. Since 1989, he has been married to country music artist Patty Loveless. Gordy was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1992. His wife joined him in the Hall of Fame in 2005.[1]

Early life

By age four he knew his way around a piano keyboard; at six he had begun to tackle the trumpet and would soon learn the banjo, euphonium, guitar, and ukelele. In high school Gordy divided his time and talents between string bands, dixieland bands, and a top 40 garage band, honing his musical skills and learning to arrange music. After graduation he continued his musical studies at Georgia State University, performing French horn in the concert band.[2]


Early years

Started his career as a studio musician in Atlanta during 1964. He was asked to fill in on the instrument during a performance by Tommy Roe at a local concert. A week later he got the proverbial phone call; on the other end of the line was Joe South, an Atlanta-based record producer who had covered Roe on guitar alongside Gordy the week before. Soon Gordy was working alongside Roe, Razzy Bailey, Mac Davis, and Freddy Weller, as well as touring with Lou Christie, Rufus Thomas, and the Impressions. With Dennis Yost, he was a co-writer on the Classics IV hit "Traces".[2][3]


Moved to Los Angeles in early 1970. Continued as a studio musician working at MCA. Along with the studio work, he supplemented with engineering and production work for Debbie Reynolds and Liberace Then, in 1971, he had the opportunity to tour as a bass player with Neil Diamond. Played multiple instruments (including guitar, mandolin, percussion, and vibes) in the recording sessions that led up to Diamonds million-selling Hot August Night.[2][3][4]

Moved to RCA Records in 1972 working with Elvis Presley, playing bass on "Separate Ways" and "Burning Love". Toured with Elvis in 1973, playing Bass for Elvis Presley's TCB Band. Later, along with fellow Presley band members James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, and Ronnie Tutt, accompanied Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris on Parson's Grievous Angel album, released the year after Parsonss untimely death in 1973.[2][3][4]

In the mid-1970s, he was an original member of Emmylou Harris's Hot Band along with James Burton, Glen Hardin, John Ware, Rodney Crowell, and Hank Devito. Remaining with Harris until 1977, Gordy continued to get calls from L.A. studios, where he played bass on projects by the Bellamy Brothers, Billy Joel, and Tom Petty. Gordy would go on to play in Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cashs supergroup, the Cherry Bombs, alongside other soon-to-be Nashville luminaries: guitarist Richard Bennett, keyboard player Tony Brown, and Vince Gill on guitar.[2][3][4]

By 1979 he joined John Denvers band and alternated touring the U.S., Australia, and Europe with studio work in Nashville, where he composed the bass tracks for two of Denvers albums. In 1981, however, Gordy was back at work with Cash and Crowell, a collaboration that would last another year before Crowell opted to become a producer.[2][3][4]

Studio producer

Ended his major touring in 1983, becoming a producer at MCA Records in Nashville. Co-Produced Steve Earle's Exit 0 and Guitar Town records with Tony Brown, also Alabama, George Jones and Bill Monroe. Co-produced albums with Vince Gill beginning in 1984, and his future wife, Patty Loveless, when she was signed by MCA in 1985. Continued his work with John Denver on several projects up until his untimely death, and has also worked on some John Denver projects afterwards.[2][3]

Gordys abilities were put to the acid test in 1992, after his wife, Patty Loveless, left MCA, the label that had jump-started her on the path to becoming country musics most notable female neo-traditional vocalist. Plagued by a vocal cord injury that threatened to cut her career short, Loveless was forced to disappear from view for several months while she underwent laser surgery and a period of recovery. Gordys work on Only What I Feel put his wifes career back on the fast track, and he did it by drawing on her strength as a traditional singer amidst a wave of "New Country" clones, making with her what will probably be the album of her career, winning the CMA Album of the Year award in 1985.[2][3]

Although one of Nashvilles most influential producers, Gordy remained low-key, preferring to keep out of the spotlight except when backing a headliner on stage. Uncomfortable about discussing his many successes to the point of near-reclusiveness, he prefers to spend his time working on projects where he can gain further experience in his craft.[3]

Current activities

Active until the mid-2000s today Gordy is now in semi-retirement, he spends most of his time on his farm northwest of Atlanta although he still writes, occasionally travels to Nashville as a studio musician for one of his friends, and is seen playing guitar at most of his wife's yearly Nashville appearances at the Grand Ole Opry (she no longer tours on a regular basis). He is also an avid ham radio operator.[3]


  1. Georgia Music Hall of Fame: Emory Gordy, Jr.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Country Music, October 1993, p. 10; November/December 1993, pp. 55-58.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 EP Unlimited, February 2001, Patty's Friends: Emory Gordy, Jr.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Guitar Player, March 1988, pp. 68-74.
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