inside The CRS Daily Buzz (2/18)

Day Three: UMGN Explodes With Music
Listening Habits Are Changing
A Knight In Country’s Court

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Chronicle: Gene Kennedy, Billy Earl Owens

Door Knob Records founder Kenneth “Gene” Kennedy passed April 1 following a battle with COVID-related pneumonia. He was 87. Kennedy was a songwriter/artist/musician originally signed to Old Town Records as a pop/doo-wop act in the 1960s. He was managed by WLAC/Nashville on-air talent Hoss Allen and toured with Roy Orbison, Ace Cannon and Connie Francis. Allen and Kennedy soon partnered to form Nashville’s first independent promotion company, and Kennedy was hired by Acuff-Rose’s Wesley Rose to promote songs for its affiliated Hickory Records. Owen Bradley hired him to head promotion for Decca, where he worked with Bill Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Jeanne Pruett, Jeannie Seely, Cal Smith, Ernest Tubb and Conway Twitty. Kennedy formed his own company in 1975 with first client Lynn. He created Mt. Juliet, TN-based Door Knob in 1976 and served as producer for most of its artists through 2010. Services were held April 5.

Songwriter/instrumentalist Billy Earl Owens passed away today (4/7) at the age of 85. Owens was Dolly Parton’s uncle, and she credits him with much of her success. Owens’ songwriting credits included cuts by Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs and Kris Kristofferson; he also co-wrote with Parton, earning BMI Song of the Year in 1966 for “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.” Parton eulogized Owens via Facebook earlier this afternoon, saying in part, “He was there to take me around to all of the local shows, got me my first job on the Cas Walker Show. He took me back and forth to Nashville through the years, walked up and down the streets with me knocking on doors to get me signed up to labels or publishing companies ... But the greatest thing he ever did for me was to help me see my dreams come true, and for that I will be forever grateful.”