Harold Bradley Guitar Scholarship Established in Name of Most Recorded Guitar Player at Nashville’s Belmont

The legacy of the most recorded guitar player in history will continue to create beautiful music out of Nashville. Belmont School of Music is dedicating a scholarship in the name of Country Music Hall of Fame member Harold Bradley to be awarded to outstanding students in the music business program with an emphasis on guitar. The Harold Bradley Endowed Scholarship at Belmont’s internationally recognized Music Business department received its launch and initial funding from an anonymous donor. The announcement ceremony will be held at Belmont’s Gallery of Iconic Guitars on Friday, January 25, 2019. Mr. Bradley and his family will be in attendance.


This will be an intimate gathering to celebrate the Harold Bradley Endowed Scholarship and offer some insight into the significance of such an opportunity for future musicians. Following a brief program honoring Harold Bradley, there will be a student performance in The Gallery of Iconic Guitars (GIG). This display makes for a perfect backdrop with some of the most rare guitars from an 1887 Martin to a 1923 Gibson and beyond.
Harold Bradley, along with his brother Owen, laid the groundwork for Nashville’s Music Industry. They worked as both musician and producer with classic stars too numerous to mention. The Harold Bradley Endowed Scholarship at Belmont University was created to recognize Harold’s legacy, while providing talented students with the financial means to reach their goals in the field of music.

If you are interested in personally contributing to the Harold Bradley Endowed Scholarship call Belmont University’s Development Office at 615-460-5517 or email development@belmont.edu with questions or to get more information.

About Harold Bradley:
Guitarist Harold Ray Bradley grew up in Nashville. Harold was playing amplified jazz guitar by 1943, and his brother, the legendary Owen Bradley, got him a summer job that year playing lead guitar with Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. After serving in the navy from 1944 to 1946, Bradley returned to Nashville to study music and play in his brother’s dance band. His first country recording session came in 1946, when he recorded with Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys in Chicago. As recording activity increased in Nashville, Bradley’s studio workload grew. For instance, his acoustic rhythm guitar opened Red Foley’s 1950 smash hit “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy,” which went to #1 on both the country and pop charts.
Though he is a capable lead guitarist, Bradley’s studio specialty has been rhythm work. On many sessions, he was part of a studio-guitar triumvirate with lead specialists Hank Garland and Grady Martin. Garland excelled in jazzy licks, Martin in funkier leads. In the aftermath of Garland’s disabling 1961 car accident, Bradley often took Garland’s place, and Ray Edenton played rhythm guitar. Bradley’s rhythm playing wasn’t always apparent when listening to recordings, although his parts were essential contributions, as in Roy Orbison’s #2 pop hit “Crying” (1961). Occasionally Bradley did play lead parts that stood out. For example, he played the opening banjo notes on Johnny Horton’s 1959 hit “The Battle of New Orleans.” Bradley’s electric bass guitar work can be heard on hits such as Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”


Over the years Bradley played on literally hundreds of hit recordings, including Eddy Arnold’s “Make the World Go Away,” Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me,” Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry,” and Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.” Other hits to which he contributed are Ray Price’s “Danny Boy,” Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet,” Burl Ives’s “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Faron Young’s “Hello Walls,” Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man,” and Conway Twitty’s “Hello Darlin.’”
In addition to his studio achievements, Harold Bradley was the first president of Nashville’s chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). In 1991 Bradley began his long service as president of Nashville’s chapter of the American Federation of Musicians (AF of M) and later became that organization’s international vice president. Shortly before the announcement of his 2006 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bradley received the AF of M’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.