Arthur Alexander Biography

10 May 1940, Florence, Alabama, USA, d. 9 June 1993, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Despite his own interpretations, Alexander’s recordings are often better recalled for their inspirational quality. ‘Anna (Go To Him)’, a US R&B Top 10 hit, and ‘You Better Move On’ were covered, respectively, by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, while ‘A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues’ became an essential UK beat staple (notably by Johnny Kidd). Although ‘You Better Move On’ was recorded at the rudimentary Fame studios, Alexander’s subsequent work was produced in Nashville, where his poppier perceptions undermined the edge of his earlier work. Later singles included ‘Go Home Girl’ and the haunting ‘Soldier Of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)’, but his fragile personality was particularly susceptible to pressure. This problem bedevilled his move to another label, Sound Stage 7, and although a 1972 album for Warner Brothers Records was promising, the singer’s potential once again seemed to wither.

A pop hit was secured on Buddah Records with ‘Every Day I Have To Cry Some’ (1975), but the success remained short-lived. For many years Alexander was forced to work outside of the music business; he was a bus driver for much of this time. Alexander began to perform again in 1993 as renewed interest arose in his small but important catalogue. Lonely Just Like Me was his first album in 21 years and showed a revitalized performer. He signed a new recording and publishing contract in May 1993, suffering the cruellest fate when he collapsed and died the following month, three days after performing in Nashville with his new band. Richard Younger’s excellent biography pays overdue respect to this unsung legend.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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