Ivory Joe Hunter
Born: Oct. 10, 1914 in Kirbyville, Texas
Died: Nov. 8, 1974
As a teenager, Ivory Joe Hunter made his first recording for Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress in 1933. By the early 1940s, Hunter had his own radio show in Beaumont on KFDM.
He wrote and recorded his first song, "Blues at Sunrise", with the Three Blazers for his own label, Ivory Records. It became a national success in 1945. Hunter’s biggest hit was "Since I Met You Baby" (1956). He was billed as “The Baron of the Boogie”, and “The Happiest Man Alive”. Uniquely, he was honored at both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1949 Hunter recorded "I Quit My Pretty Mama" and "Guess Who", backed by members of Duke Ellington's band. "I Almost Lost My Mind" topped the 1950 R&B charts and would later be recorded by Pat Boone whose version became a number one pop hit.
While visiting Memphis in the spring of 1957, Hunter was invited by Elvis Presley to visit Graceland. Hunter commented, "He (Elvis) is very spiritually minded... he showed me every courtesy, and I think he's one of the greatest." Presley recorded several of Hunter’s songs, including "I Need You So", "My Wish Came True" and "Ain't That Lovin' You, Baby".
Hunter's "Empty Arms" and "Yes I Want You" also made the pop charts, and he had a minor hit with "City Lights" in 1959, just before his popularity began to decline. Hunter came back as a country singer in the late 1960s, making regular Grand Ole Opry appearances and recording an album titled “I've Always Been Country”.
A prolific songwriter, he wrote an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 songs over the course of his career.