Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Andy Griffith: What It Was, Was Football

America lost an icon yesterday with the passing of Andy Griffith at the age of 86. For those of my generation, he was Andy Taylor – sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina. Sheriff Taylor was the purveyor of folksy wisdom in a simpler time. Later in the 1980s and 1990s, he starred as criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock – the epitome of a country lawyer created in the mold of Raymond Burr’s Perry Mason.

Griffith was no stranger to music and was adept on guitar and trombone. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia – a college music fraternity for men; he was president of the UNC chapter when he was a student.

Griffith’s vocal ability was showcased on numerous gospel recordings. His best known was the platinum certified “I Love to Tell the Story — 25 Timeless Hymns.” Andy was awarded a Grammy award for the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album for this same album in 1997. Although he recorded a number of albums, he only had on popular hit – a record on which he did not sing, but rather acted as a country parson who witnessed his first football game.

“What It Was, Was Football” was recorded in 1953 and sold regionally well on the Colonial Records label out of Chapel Hill, NC. In 1954, the master was sold to Capitol Records and the spoken word recording peaked at #9 on Billboard’s popular charts – making it his one-hit wonder.

The single was released under the name of Deacon Andy Griffith. Funny thing though, two days ago I was just talking about this particular recording with my wife.  It's a little different type of record we are featuring today, but it honor's Andy Griffith's long career in show business.

Rest in Peace Andy – you’ll be missed.

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