Harold Bradley, Country Music Hall of Fame Guitarist, Dies at 93

Courtesy of Photofest
Harold Bradley

Many consider Bradley to be one of the most recorded musicians ever, appearing on multiple Elvis Presley records.

Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist Harold Bradley, who played on hundreds of hit country records including Crazy, King of the Road and Crying and helped create the "Nashville sound" with his brother Owen, has died. He was 93.

Bradley's daughter Beverly said he died Thursday morning in Nashville, where he was born.

The Bradley brothers had a huge impact on Nashville during the 1950s, with Harold serving as a member of the "A Team" of session musicians and Owen leading Decca Records.

Harold Ray Bradley was born in 1926 and switched from banjo to guitar at the urging of his brother. He was a teenager when he started playing professionally, touring with Ernest Tubb and making his debut at the Grand Ole Opry.

During World War II, Bradley served in the U.S. Navy and after his discharge, he returned to Nashville to become an in-demand session player. He played on songs for Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Brenda Lee, The Everly Brothers, Burl Ives, Red Foley, Anita Bryant and more.

Many consider Bradley to be one of the most recorded musicians ever, appearing on multiple Elvis Presley records. Some of the most well-known hits he played on include "Make the World Go Away" by Arnold, "Harper Valley P.T.A." by Jeannie C. Riley, "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Lee and "Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton.

In the 1950s, the Bradley brothers started a recording studio on what is now Nashville's Music Row, just the second studio to locate there. There was a surplus Army structure on the property called a Quonset hut that they turned into the now-historic studio where they also filmed TV performances.

Bradley was also the longtime president of the Nashville Musicians Association Local 257 of the American Federation of Musicians.