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Arthur Alexander

Arthur Alexander, 1993. One of the last photos taken of him.
Background information
Birth name Arthur Alexander
Born May 10, 1940(1940-05-10)
Origin Sheffield, Alabama
Died June 9, 1993 (aged 53)
Genres Country, soul
Occupations Recording artist, singer, songwriter
Years active 1960 – 1975, 1993
Labels Judd, Dot Records, Buddah Records, Warner Brothers, Ace, Elektra

Arthur Alexander (May 10, 1940 – June 9, 1993), born in Sheffield, Alabama, was perhaps one of the biggest stars to arise out of the American country soul scene. Jason Ankeny, music critic for Allmusic, said Alexander was a "country-soul pioneer" and though largely unknown, "his music is the stuff of genius, a poignant and deeply intimate body of work on par with the best of his contemporaries."[1]



Working with Spar Music in Florence, Alabama, Alexander recorded his first single; "Sally Sue Brown" which was released in 1960 on Jud Phillips' Judd Records. (Phillips is the brother of music pioneer Sam Phillips).

A year later, Alexander cut "You Better Move On" at a former Tobacco Warehouse-turned-Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals. Released on Nashville's Dot Records, the song became a Soul/R&B chart hit, and laid the foundation for the modern recording studio FAME. "You Better Move On" is perhaps Alexander's best-known song, covered by The Rolling Stones, the Hollies, George Jones & Johnny Paycheck and Mink DeVille. "Anna (Go to Him)", a U.S. R&B Top Ten Hit, was covered by The Beatles and Humble Pie. The Beatles also did live recordings of, "Soldier of Love", which was also performed by Marshall Crenshaw and Pearl Jam, "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues", and "Where Have You Been" recorded live at the Star Club, in Hamburg, 1962. "Set Me Free" (covered by Esther Phillips and Joe Tex) were also major hits and established Alexander as a pioneering arranger of others' tunes, as well as an established songwriter in his own right.

In the mid-1960s, Alexander switched to another label, Sound Stage 7, but failed to find commercial success. Although a 1972 album for Warner Brothers was promising, the singer's potential seemed to wither. He secured a pop hit with "Every Day I have to Cry" on Buddah Records 1975, but the success remained short-lived. The fine follow-up single "Sharing The Night Together" (written by Muscle Shoals songwriters Ava Aldridge and Eddie Struzick) reached #92 on the R&B charts, but earned Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show a Top Ten in 1978.

For many years, Alexander was out of the music business; he was a bus driver for much of this time. He began to perform again in 1993 as renewed interest was shown in his small but important catalogue. His last album Lonely Just Like Me was his first in 21 years. He signed a new recording/publishing contract in May 1993 but suffered a fatal heart attack the following month, three days after performing in Nashville with his new band.


Alexander deserves a special mention in pop and rock history for his particular influence, as indicated, on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It is believed that John Lennon, in particular, was heavily influenced by Alexander's singing style. The above-mentioned tracks such as "Anna", "You Better Move On", and "Soldier of Love", in particular, but maybe also "Go Home Girl" might confirm this artist's influence on the Beatles and, if the listener needs further convincing, "You Better Move On", also recorded by the Rolling Stones. Arthur Alexander is the only songwriter whose songs have been covered by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan (who covered "Sally Sue Brown" on his 1988 LP "Down In The Groove.") As further evidence of his influence, "Go Home Girl" was also recorded by the eclectic master Ry Cooder on his groundbreaking 1979 album Bop Till You Drop.

Discography (USA issues except where noted)



  • "Sally Sue Brown/"The Girl That Radiates That Charm" Judd (1960)
  • "You Better Move On"/"A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues" Dot (1961) London (UK) (1962)
  • "Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)"/"Where Have You Been All My Life" Dot (1962) London (UK) (1962)
  • "Anna"/"I Hang My Head And Cry" Dot (1962) London (UK) (1963)
  • "Go Home Girl"/"You're the Reason" Dot (1962) London (UK) (1963)
  • "Dream Girl"/"I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" Dot (1963)
  • "Baby, Baby"/"Pretty Girls Everywhere" Dot (1963)
  • "Where Did Sally Go"/"Keep Her Guessing" Dot (1963)
  • "Old John Amos"/"Black Night" Dot (1964) London (UK) (1964)
  • "Detroit City"/"You Don't Care" Dot (1965)
  • "Baby For You"/"The Other Woman (In My Life)" Sound Stage (1966) London (UK) (1966)
  • "Show Me The Road"/"Turn Around (And Try Me)" Sound Stage (1966)
  • "Love's Where Life Begins"/"Set Me Free" Sound Stage (1968)
  • "I Need You Baby"/"Spanish Harlem" Monument (1968)
  • "Bye Bye Love"/"Another Time, Another Place" Sound Stage (1968)
  • "Cry Like A Baby"/"Glory Road" Sound Stage (1969)
  • "I'm Coming Home"/"It Hurts To Want It So Bad" Warner Brothers (1972)
  • "Burning Love"/"It Hurts To Want It So Bad" Warner Brothers (1972)
  • "Mr John"/"You've Got Me Knockin'" Garry Fink (1972)
  • "Lover Please"/"They'll Do It Every Time" Warner Brothers (1973)
  • "Every Day I Have To Cry Some"/"Everybody Needs Someone To Love" Buddah (1975) Buddah (UK) (1976)
  • "Sharing The Night Together"/"She'll Throw Stones At You" Buddah (1976) Buddah (UK) (1977)
  • "Hound Dog Man's Gone Home"/"So Long Baby" Music Mill (1977)


  • "Alexander The Great" (1963) London (UK)
  • "Arthur Alexander" (1963) London (UK)



  • You Better Move On (1962) Label: Dot & London (UK)
  • Arthur Alexander (1972) Label: Warner Brothers
  • Story Of Rock 'N' Roll (1977) Label: Ariola (Germany) (Reissue of "You Better Move On" LP)


  • You Better Move On (1993) Label: MCA (1994) MCA (UK) (Reissue of LP with bonus tracks)
  • Lonely Just Like Me (1993) Label: Nonesuch/Elektra
  • Rainbow Road: The Warner Bros. Recordings (1994) Label: Warner Archives (Reissue of Warner LP above with bonus tracks)
  • Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter (2007) Label: Hacktone (Reissue of CD with bonus tracks)

Compilation albums


  • Various Artists - Greatest Rhythm And Blues Stars (1965) Label: Guest Star (2 tracks by Arthur Alexander)
  • Carl Perkins - Sing A Song With Me (1979) Label: Koala (4 demos by Arthur Alexander)
  • A Shot Of Rhythm And Soul (1982) Label: Ace (UK)
  • Soldier Of Love (1987) Label: Ace (UK)


  • The Greatest (1989 & 2006) Label: Ace (UK)
  • The Ultimate Arthur Alexander (1993) Label: Razor & Tie
  • Jon Tiven's Ego Trip - Blue Guru (1996) Label: Fountainbleu (1 over-dubbed demo by Arthur Alexander)
  • Various Artists - Bill Haney's Atlanta Soul Brotherhood (1998) Label: Kent (UK) (1 track by Arthur Alexander)
  • Various Artists - Bill Haney's Atlanta Soul Brotherhood Vol 2 (1998) Label: Kent (UK) (1 track by Arthur Alexander)
  • The Monument Years (2001) Label: Ace (UK)

See also


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Arthur Alexander Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-03-18.  
  • Richard Younger "Get a Shot of Rhythm and Blues: The Arthur Alexander Story" The University of Alabama Press (2000) ISBN 0 8173 1023 1

External links


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