Instruments: Promoter
Date of Birth: July 6, 1943
Place of Birth: Huntsville, Alabama

Jerry Bentley first became interested in the music business while serving on the Huntsville Jaycees Entertainment Committee in the early 1970s. It was at this time that he booked the Oak Ridge Boys as entertainment for the Jaycee Fair in the fall of 1970.

Jerry's interest in the music business grew and in the fall of 1975 he promoted his first concert in Dothan, Alabama with the Oak Ridge Boys. The total ticket sales were $1,700, but he was officially in the music business. On February 5, 1982, in Birmingham, Alabama, Bentley would promote the oak Ridge Boys most financially successful one show situation to that date. Following the show in Dothan he started promoting concerts around the southeast. During this time he was still promoting the Oak Ridge Boys, but was now also working with Jerry Reed, Marty Robbins, Larry Gatlin, Don Williams, Hank Williams, Jr., Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, Jimmy Buffet and beginning in 1982, a future star who was working as the opening act for the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood.

On July 1, 1985, Jerry went to work for Lee Greenwood at his Music Row Office in Nashville. During the next ten years as Lee Greenwood's general manager, Jerry was involved with the business of keeping a country music star and his show on the road. This included negotiating record contracts and planning for recording sessions and the marketing of new albums and singles and scheduling personal appearances for the service and charitable organizations that Greenwood is involved with.

In early 1996 Bentley took on the daily operations of the 1700 seat Lee Greenwood Theater in eastern Tennessee.

Bentley has received commendations from the Department of Defense in 1987 for Patriotic Service in providing Entertainment to Members of the Armed Forces in The Mediterranean, the Boy Scouts of America, Veterans Groups, and from President George Bush in 1993, for his work on the Republican Presidential Task Force. In 1998, Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist appointed Bentley to serve on the Tennessee Film Commission.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Country-music promoter and veteran manager Jerry Bentley doesn't care much for the prospects of most teenage singers.

In the business more than 30 years, he's seen plenty of teenage careers crash, and he had some tough advice for the latest contender, 17-year-old Taylor Swift:

"Tell her to get back in school and come back and see me when she's 18, and bring her parents," said Bentley, who's managed singer Lee Greenwood for 23 years.

"Even if she were 25, the odds would be against her. You have to work 300-plus days for a couple of years, and there's no guarantee even then."

Warnings like that don't faze Swift. When told about Bentley's advice, she hardly flinched: "I'd like to meet him and sit down and play for him," she said.

Swift may be only a teenager, but she already has the nerves and determination of a steely veteran.

Her first hit single, "Tim McGraw," came off her self-titled debut album, and she's opening for country veteran George Strait Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.........

Source: By Joe Edwards-The Associated Press



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