Tom T. Hall

Induction Year: 1978

Birth Name: Thomas Hall

Birth Date: 05-25-1936

Place of Birth: Olive Hill, Kentucky

They call him "The Storyteller." And for good reason. In his three-minute songs, Tom T. Hall can pack a novel's worth of nuance and narrative, getting inside the heads of small-town characters and uncovering universal truths.

It makes sense that Hall's songwriting journey began with writing stories and poems as a small boy in rural Kentucky. After his mother died and his father was left disabled by a hunting accident, Hall quit school and took a job at a garment factory. While he supported himself and his dad, he also played guitar in a bluegrass band and moonlighted as a disc jockey at a local radio station.

In 1957, Hall enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Germany for four years. It was there that he started to develop the mix of humor and storytelling that became his trademark. Back at home, he studied journalism in college and supported himself as a disc jockey. When a Nashville songwriter visited the radio station one day, he heard Hall's songs and helped him land a publishing deal in Nashville. Within two years, Hall had his first two Top 10 country hits — "D.J. for a Day" by Jimmy C. Newman and "Mad" by Dave Dudley — and was Nashville bound.

Hall's personal narrative style blossomed in full on the 1968 international smash "Harper Valley PTA," sung by Jeannie C. Riley. "I started writing a lot of songs that just started up and kept rambling," Hall said. "I started writing biographically, and I was breaking all kind of rules." The song's success nudged Hall into a full-time recording career. Between 1969 and 1976, he scored numerous hit singles, including #1 songs like "A Week in a Country Jail," "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died" and "(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine."

Along with Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury, Hall helped to redefine the language and tone of country songwriting in the 1970s, while reviving the genre's old tradition of storytelling.

In 1976, Hall added author to his resume, penning a book on songwriting. He has written eight more books since, including novels, a memoir and a children's book. Hall retired from performing in 1996, but his songs continued to be covered by artists ranging from Alan Jackson to Joe Henry to Nick Lowe. In 2008, Hall was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and in 2012 he was honored with a BMI Icon Award.
 

"(Margie's at) The Lincoln Park Inn"

Tom T. Hall1969 
Bobby Bare1969 #4 country

"(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine"

NSAI Song of the Year, ACM Song of the Year

Tom T. Hall1972 #1 country
 

"A Week in a County Jail "

Tom T. Hall1970 #1 country
 

"Ballad of Forty Dollars"

Tom T. Hall1968 #4 country
 

"Country Is"

Tom T. Hall1974 #1 country
 

"D.J. for a Day"

Jimmy C. Newman1964 #9 country
 

"Faster Horses (The Cowboy and The Poet)"

Tom T. Hall1976 #1 country

"Harper Valley PTA"

Jeannie C. Riley1968 #1 country, #1 pop
Ben Colder1968 #67 pop
Dolly Parton1969 
Lynn Anderson1969 
Jeannie Seely1968 
Martina McBride2005 
 

"Hello Vietnam"

Johnnie Wright1965 #1 country

"Homecoming "

Tom T. Hall1969 #5 country
Cal Smith1970 
Joe Henry1998 

"How I Got to Memphis"

Tom T. Hall1968 
Dave Dudley1969 
Bobby Bare1970 #3 country
Lee Hazlewood1976 
Buddy Miller1995 
Deryl Dodd1996 #36 country
Kelly Willis1998 
 

"I Can't Dance"

Tom T. Hall1971 
Gram Parsons1974 
 

"I Care"

Tom T. Hall1974 #1 country
 

"I Love"

Tom T. Hall1974 #1 country, #12 pop
Patty Griffin2011 
 

"I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew"

Tom T. Hall1967 #30 country
Mel Tillis1968 
Jean Shepard1968 
Johnny Cash1998 
 

"I'm Not Ready Yet"

George Jones1980 #2 country
 

"Life Don't Have to Mean Nothin' at All"

Tom T. Hall1997 
Joe Nichols2002 

"Little Bitty"

Tom T. Hall1996 
Alan Jackson1996 
 

"Mad"

Dave Dudley1964 #6 country
 

"Me and Jesus"

Tom T. Hall1972 #8 country,#98 pop
George Jones & Tammy Wynette1972 
Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis1972 
 

"Pamela Brown"

Tom T. Hall1972 
Bobby Bare1972 
Leo Kottke1974 
Jud Strunk1976 #88 country
 

"Pool Shark"

Dave Dudley1970 #1 country
 

"Ravishing Ruby"

Tom T. Hall1973 #3 country
 

"Shame on the Rain"

Nick Lowe2011 
 

"That Song is Driving Me Crazy"

Tom T. Hall1974 #2 country, #63 pop
 

"The Little Lady Preacher"

Tom T. Hall1971 
 

"The Year that Clayton Delaney Died "

Tom T. Hall1971 #1 country, #42 pop
 

"Town That Broke My Heart"

Bobby Bare1968 #16 country
 

"What We're Fighting For"

Dave Dudley1966 #4 country
 

"You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)"

Johnny Rodriguez1973 #1 country

Tom T. Hall

Induction Year: 1978