A member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Albert E. Brumley initially worked
as a songwriter for the Hartford and Stamps-Baxter companies, but eventually
established his own powerful song-publishing business in small-town Powell,
He wrote some of the most recorded songs in gospel music, including "I'll Fly
Away" and "Turn Your Radio On." His gospel standards have been recorded not
only by gospel groups but also by numerous country and bluegrass
Albert E. Brumley was raised on an Oklahoma cotton farm. From 1926 to 1931, he
was enrolled at the Hartford Academy of Music in Hartford, Arkansas. He learned
to write his first songs there, publishing them in Hartford songbooks. Many of
his classics were first printed at this time.
Brumley worked as an itinerant singing-school teacher during the 1930s in
Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. He quit teaching to concentrate on
songwriting, signing with the Stamps-Baxter gospel publishing company in
He published his own first songbook in 1937, Albert E. Brumley's Book of Radio Favorites. He formed the Albert E. Brumley Music Company in 1943, and
in 1948 he purchased the Hartford firm, gaining full control of his copyrights.
His company continues to be run by Brumley family members.
In addition to many recordings by traditional gospel artists, Brumley songs
have been popularized by Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Ray Stevens, Johnny Cash, Jim
Reeves, George Jones, Elvis Presley, Charley Pride, Merle Haggard and many
other mainstream stars. "I'll Fly Away" alone has been recorded more than 500
He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1972 and into the Ozark
Hall of Fame in 1986.
Sons Tom, Al and Jack Brumley all became prominent in the country music
business. Tom Brumley (1935-2009) was the longtime steel guitarist in Buck
Owens' band, the Buckaroos. Jack has been an artist manager, a publisher and a
promoter. Albert E. Brumley Jr. is a gospel recording artist who has recorded
dozens of his father's classics.