Burns, Eddy "Country Boy"
- Hits: 2219
Instruments: Fiddle, Guitar, Banjo, Bass Guitar, Jew's Harp, French Horn and Accordian
Date of Birth: 1931
Place of Birth: Warrior, Alabama
For over 30 years, Country Boy Eddy has been entertaining thousands of people with his own "down home" style of music. An accomplished musician, Country Boy Eddy delights the crowds with his versatility on the fiddle, guitar, banjo, bass guitar, Jew's harp, French horn and accordian.
Country Boy Eddy has performed over 6000 shows which include appearances on over 36 television stations and the Grand Ole Opry. In addition to his "Country Boy Eddy Show" on ABC affiliate WBRC-TV 6 in Birmingham, Eddy tapes shows in Nashville and Chattanooga and is broadcast on 68 cable systems in Alabama. He makes personal appearances at shopping center openings, fairs, rodeos and a variety of other events. He brings alive sounds of yesteryear in his bluegrass, gospel, and country music.
Country Boy Eddy started in show business as a teenager. For several years, he played on the radio with Happy Hal Burns and after a two year stay in the Army, he returned to the Happy Hal Show. He traveled around the country with Hal's band for a few years before forming the Country Boy Eddy Band.
Country Boy Eddy launched his television career when the Country Boy Eddy Show ran on NBC affiliate WAPI-TV 13 in Birmingham at midnight on Saturday. In addition to the television show, he was playing as many as 500 shows a year. Later, Country Boy Eddy's band was featured on WBRC-TV 6's "The Morning Show" and since that appearance, "The Country Boy Eddy Show" has been one of the most popular morning shows on local television. He has featured many country and western stars on his show such as Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Tammy Wynette as well as many local performers. Country Boy Eddy is a family oriented person and treats his band members as such. He and his wife, Edwinna, live on the Burns' farm where Eddy was born and reared. They have one son and two grandchildren. His family of band members are hand picked musicians who are familiar with chard progressions, various tempos and beats, and who can "ad lib" due to the various performers that appear on the Country Boy Eddy Show.
Over the past 30 years, the show has dominated the total adult market, averaging over 25% of the ADI share and 54,000 total adults.
Eddy's love of music and people make him a success whenever he is called upon to perform.
Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Gordon Edwards Burns, known as Country Boy Eddie or sometimes Country Boy Eddy (born December 13, 1930 near Warrior) is a country singer, fiddler and guitarist who hosted the long-running Country Boy Eddie Show on WBRC from 1957 to 1993.
Burns, one of eight children raised on his family's 200-acre Blount County farm, had determined to work in radio since he was a 10-year-old listening to Curley Fox on the Grand Ole Opry. At 13 he bought a fiddle with money he raised selling Garden Spot Seeds door to door. He taught himself to play the fiddle and joined Happy Hal Burns' band in 1946, playing on WBRC-AM's Crossroads Variety Show. It was Burns (no relation) who gave him his nickname.
Burns served in the US Army during the Korean War and sang on the Armed Forces Radio Network in Korea, Japan and Hawaii. He returned home to Happy Hal's band, touring for a few years and making appearances on shows like "Hillbilly Bandstand". He caught the ear of Bill Monroe and finally made his own appearances on the Grand Ole Opry program.
Burns soon married and settled in Birmingham. He took a job as a disc jockey for program director Warren Musgrove at WILD-AM. In a staged stunt, Musgrove "fired" him for bringing a mule into the studio, and Burns rode out and proceeded as far as Alabaster. Besides WILD, Burns also worked for WLBS-AM and WLPH-AM. In addition he appeared at as many as 500 live performances per year and operated a water park, Waterfalls U.S.A. near his cattle ranch in Blount County.
In 1955 Burns put together his own band for the first "Country Boy Eddie Show" at midnight, after wrestling on Saturday nights, on WAPI-TV (Channel 13). Two years later, the band was hired as the stage band for the Tom York Morning Show on WBRC-TV. In February 1957 the more familiar Country Boy Eddie Show was spun off into its own slot weekdays 5:00 to 7:00 AM. On Mondays and Tuesdays in 1961 and 1962 he would drive to Nashville to tape a week's worth of morning shows for a station there. He introduced a young Dolly Parton to audiences there and also had Pat Boone and Eddy Arnold on the show.
Burns' homespun amiability became a familiar part of the morning for many Birminghamians, and was syndicated around the region by as many as 120 cable channels. The show endured for 38 years. Burns retired after the December 31, 1993 broadcast.
Since retirement, Burns continues to make public appearances. He and his wife Edwina spend their time at his 200-acre family farm in Blount County. They are active members of Piney Woods Baptist Church in Gardendale and have one son, Doyle, and three grandchildren.
Burns was given the 2001 Media Award from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
BRC Hall Of Fame Bio: Country Boy Eddie Burns
An icon of 'down home' music in Alabama, Gordan Edward Burns was born on a farm in Warrior, Alabama on December 13, 1930. Here in Blount County, where he has lived all of his life except for a 15-year stint in Birmingham, Eddie - one of 6 boys and 2 girls - had wanted to be in radio since he was 10 years old. Growing up as a little boy listening to the Grand Ole Opry, his idol was world-champion fiddler, Curley Fox. Eddie learned to play the fiddle on his own with no lessons. He is an accomplished musician with the guitar, banjo, bass guitar, Jew's harp, French horn, and accordian as well.
Eddie began his show business career in 1946 as a teenager playing fiddle in the Happy Hal Burns Band on the "Crossroads Variety Show" radio show broadcast on WBRC Radio in Birmingham. After serving in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, Eddie became a disc jockey for radio station WILD in Birmingham. Eddie created his beloved mule "Fodder Fossil" during his radio days - derived from a song he often sang called "Johnson's Old Gray Mule". He even used her in a promotional stunt. His program director at the time, Warren Musgrove, came up with an on-air scene where Country Boy was fired for having his mule in the studio because it was raining outside. Eddie reacted to the firing saying that he would just ride his mule to Montgomery where he had been offered a job making a whopping $15 a week and they would feed and curry Fodder Fossil, too. So he left riding a mule - travelling through crowds of onlookers on the streets - all the way past Alabaster. He also has worked radio on stations WLBS, WILD, and WLPH. During this time, Eddie was playing as many as 500 live shows a year, too. In 1955, Eddie launched his television career when he organized a band which was featured on Birmingham's local television station channel 13, NBC network affiliate WAPI-TV. The "Country Boy Eddie Show" aired at midnight on Saturday and was sponsored by used car dealer "Big Hearted Eddie" Wright. Eddie and his band sometimes played on the Tom York Morning Show, a local Birmingham talk show on channel 6, the ABC affiliate, hosted by a local long-time favorite Tom York. "I asked anyone that I saw at the station in a suit for a job", said Eddie - eventually in 1957 getting a 4 week trail show of his own that aired the hour before the Tom York Show where Eddie had to do his own selling of advertisement. The rest is Birmingham history - the "Country Boy Eddie" show aired for 38 continuous years!
According to Eddie, his television show was the passion of his life - enjoying every moment of it. He only missed about 30 or 40 days of work out of the entire 38-year reign. He never planned a show - just went on the air and came to life with whatever he felt like saying or playing at the moment. It worked. It was his style of uniqueness, music, humor, honesty, and heartfelt enjoyment that touched everyone in Birmingham's lives during this period. Eddie's band entourage through the years has included Johnny Gore, Lee Hood, David Vest, Irvin Payne, Sid Lenard, Lynn Wright, 'Iron Man' Bill Compton, Jim Compton, Joel Burns, (with wife Teresa), Charlie Owens, Glen Tolbert, Whitey Puckett, Craig Morris, Jerry Grammer, Gene (Butterbean) Flippo, and many others - including Eddie's son Doyle, who played drums in the band while he was in high school. Eddie also had sidekick 'Zeke the Hayseed' and local advertiser and long-time friend Ronnie Marchant at his side often on the show. The show brought recognition to many vocalists including local favorite Jerry Woodard, super-talented Wendy Holcombe, Wild Rose band founder Wanda Vick, and local beautician Wynette Byrd who went to superstardom as Tammy Wynette. On his show, Eddie had a wide variety of guests through the years, including guitarist Chet Atkins, Tonight Show host Steve Allen, baseball great Dizzy Dean, and western star Chill Wills.
Eddie has recorded on the Heart, Reed, Loyal, Mother's Best (Alabama Flour Mills), Three Star, Prestige, and MCR labels. Eddie has performed over 6000 shows which include appearances on over 36 television stations and the Grand Ole Opry. In addition to his Birmingham television show, he taped additional shows in Nashville, Chattanooga, St. Louis, and Montgomery; and was broadcast on 68 local cable systems across Alabama. He made numerous personal appearances at shopping center openings, fairs, rodeos, and a variety of other events.
Country Boy Eddie is a family-oriented person and treated his band members as such. He and his wife, Edwina ('Wina), live on the Burns' family farm where Eddie was born and reared. They are the proud parents of their one son, Doyle Edward, and their three grandchildren - Cody, Kara, and Courtney. The Burns are faithful members of Piney Woods Baptist Church in Gardendale, Alabama where Eddie is highly active in their annual Wild Game Supper.
Eddie is still, at 72 years old, active in music. He is still playing shows - at churches, nursing homes, bluegrass festivals, wherever he is invited. His favorite song to perform is "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine". He brings with him his spontanuity, his unique brand of humor, his appreciation for traditional bluegrass, gospel, and country music - along with the sound of his faithful mule Fodder Fossil. He brings an old-time peace to all of us in Alabama as we hear him greet us, "Hi-dee, friends and neighbors". He is our "Country Boy" Eddie.