"Bits and Pieces of a Legend's Life"


  • Remembering Charlie Feathers

  • Charlie Speaks in 1979

  • More In-Depth Info on Charlie on Phil & Shaun's page

  • Name: Charles Arthur Feathers
    Born: June 12, 1932
    Mississippi born Charlie Feathers was signed to the Sun label in 1954. Although Charlie's recordings for Sun were more country than rockabilly, he formed an association with Presley which probably influenced Charlie to record more rockers and Elvis to record his "I Forgot To Remember To Forget". Charlie teamed up with Jerry Huffman and Jody Chastain to record one record for the Meteor label and reportedly one each on the Lone Star and Duane labels. In 1956 Charlie Feathers and his musical Warries signed with King where they recorded and released eight sides. Charlie has continued to perform and release records sporadically on small labels. In 1979 Charlie issued two LP's on his own label "Feathers Records". If you really like the pure original rockabilly sound, make sure his albums are part of your collection.

    Charlie Feathers & His Musical Warriors

    Although rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers never achieved commercial success, he was present at the creation of the form. Feathers himself hints that a mysterious, undisclosed "conspiracy" denied him maintstream fame; today he is a cult legend., living in Memphis in a little house with a white picket fence. Charlie loves to sit on his front porch, chewing and spitting tobacco.

    Raised on a farm, Feathers quit school after the third grade, learned guitar from a black sharecropper, and worked on oil pipelines in Illinois and Texas as a teen. Moving to Memphis at 18, he contracted spinal meningitis and spent months bedridden, listening to the radio. Upon recuperating he concentrated on music. Feathers later claimed that he spent a great deal of time in the mid-Fifties at Sam Phillips' Sun studios, arranging some of Elvis Presley's early material. Though most of Feathers' assertions have been unsubstantiated, he did co-write Presley's "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" (#1 C&W, 1955). That year, his own debut single on Flip, "I've Been Deceived," showed the influence of Hank Williams, and from then until 1959, he recorded for Sun and smaller labels (King, Kay, and Walmay among them). Such singles as "Tongue-Tied Jill" and "Get With It" did little on the charts, but Feathers persevered, playing local roadhouses until gaining, in 1977, a gig at London's Rainbow Theatre that drew raves from rockabilly revivalists.

    In the late Seventies, Feathers got the financial backing to start his own short-lived record label, Feathers, upon which he released a couple of albums and several singles. Frequently comic in tone his work was often straightforwardly country, but with 1991's "Charlie Feathers" (his only major label release) and the critical praise it provoked, it seemed apparent that Feathers will be remembered essentially as a great, early, if not widely known, rocker.

    There is a excellent display on Charlie's memorbilia at the Memphis Music Museum on 2nd St., downtown Memphis.

    The joke around town in the Memphis recording industry was that Meteor recorded Sun rejects. However, in 1952, Elmore James and Rufus Thomas cut some legendary recordings at 1794 Chelsea Avenue in Memphis, just down the street from Plastic Products, who pressed and mastered Rockabilly records for Meteor, Sun, and others. In 1956 the likes of Charlie Feathers and Malcolm Yelvington and others were singing under the sign that read "The Supreme Achievement in High Fidelity Recording." Unbelievably, the structure still stands today in a nasty part of town.

    Rockabilly veteran Charlie Feathers sat at a breakfast joint called The Kettle. It' was a hot morning, and Feathers is chewing tobacco and spitting into a styrofoam coffee cup. He's also detailing the world as he sees it. "I never let a band start my songs off" he says. "I only like guitar. I start it myself. If they couldn't catch on and play, then they just have to drop out." Feathers had fixed ideas about things, especially those that pertain to rockabilly and his involvement in it.

    Rockabilly Hall of Fame