Born: Florence, AL
He is a musician, arranger, bandleader, record producer, promoter, agent, manager, club owner, music publisher, record company president, and Internet music retailer. Tommy Martin and His Orchestra toured the big band circuit for eight years before joining the Jimmy Dean Show as its touring orchestra. He has produced recordings by Roy Clark, La Toya Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Jr., the Jazz-Rock Fusion group Chase, and managed the careers of Chase, Clark, The Ides Of March, Walt Johnson, and others. His talent agency Beacon Artist Corp. was a mainstay of the Chicago entertainment scene for over a decade During the 1970s he was an owner of one of the most significant nightclubs in the country, Chicago's Park West.
Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame
For almost 50 years Tommy Martin Parrish has been steadily carving his niche in the history of American popular music. Throughout his life,he has worked as a musician, arranger, bandleader, record producer, promoter, agent, manager, club owner, record company president, and now continues to work in music fields such as music publishing . Today, Tommy is still active in all aspects of the recording industry and is the owner of the popular websites, Great-Music.com. and Great-Music.net.
He has appeared on many of the most prestigious stages in America with some of our greatest entertainers. He has produced recordings by Roy Clark, La Toya Jackson, the Jazz-Rock Fusion group Chase, jointly produced Frank Sinatra Jr., and managed the careers of Chase, Clark, The Ides Of March, Walt Johnson, and others.
As a performer and bandleader, Tommy Martin and His Orchestra toured the big band circuit for eight years before joining the Jimmy Dean Show as its touring orchestra. It was on this show that he first worked with a young actor who was serving as master of ceremonies, Burt Reynolds who was soon to become a household name.
In 1965, Tommy changed the direction of his career, by moving into booking and entered into a partnership with Jack Colvin in the ABC Associates booking agency in Kansas City. In 1968 he moved to the Willard Alexander Agency in Chicago, which represented the most popular names in Big Band music. He transferred to Chartwell Artist when Jerry Perenchio hired Herb Gronauer and him to run the Chicago office of the agency. He and Gronauer soon formed their own agency, Beacon Artist Corp.
As president of Beacon Artist Corp., Tommy helped the visionary Bill Chase fulfill his dream of a jazz-rock fusion band that became a finalist for the 1972 Grammy for Best New Artist. The Beacon talent roster included such names as Peter Nero, B.J. Thomas, Climax, Dick Haymes, Jane Powell, Ides of March, New Colony Six, Maureen McGovern, Neighborhood, Buckinghams, James Darren, Willie Mitchell, Styx, Fabian, Ronnie Millsap, Henny Youngman, Big Band leaders Vaughn Monroe, Dick Jurgens, Woody Herman, Johnny Long, Si Zentner, Warren Covington, Russ Morgan, Lee Castle/Jimmy Dorsey Band,
In 1977 when he and Gronauer formed Churchill Records, Record World magazine recognized them by naming Churchill the second best new record company. The label earned about 40 chart listings with the 60 records it released. Artists included Chase, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mamie Van Doren, Don Drumm, Nick Noble, Joanna Houston, John Gary, The Four Lads, Les Hooper, Harry Caray, Jack Grayson, Mac Wiseman, Mary Lou Turner, Cindy Hurt and Woody Herman.
The label was born as a result of the need to gain exposure for the artists Tommy represented with his talent agency. The expansion in to the area of record company was a natural for Tommy, and proved very successful.
During the 1970s, Tommy helped establish one of the most highly rated nightclubs in America. As one of the owners of Park West, Tommy helped revive a landmark theater into the most popular club in Chicago,voted the number one nightclub in the United States by Billboard magazine. Among the more memorable events at the club was a 10-day run by Bette Midler, which spanned New Years Eve of 1978.
In 1980, Tommy left Chicago for Tulsa where Churchill of Oklahoma was formed with Jim Halsey and Roy Clark. The label was started to give Clark some autonomy for his productions, and the label joined with MCA for promotion and distribution. Tommy added James Brown and Ronnie Dunn to the label, and in 1983, Clark and Brown each won Grammy Awards as instrumentalists. The Grammys were the first for each. In 1984, Tommy took over the operations for the exclusive management of Clark.
In 1986 Branson Silver Dollar Records was formed, and Tommy brought Clark and Pat Boone to the label. The venture got lost in the growth of the Herschen brothers' operations of Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, and Dollywood, in Tennessee, which demanded more of their financing than initially anticipated.
In 1987, Tommy moved to Memphis for a year to take part in the city's plan to revive its music industry. He was to form a record company and booking agency to promote local talent. He then moved to Palm Springs where Hallmark Records began. Artists included Roy Clark, The Diamonds, Krystof, a major Polish star, and many new names.
Tommy found it necessary to return to his native Florence, AL, to help with the care of his elderly parents.. But...Tommy's creative juices were still raging. So to find an outlet, he continued in the recording business, traveling to Nashville to produce La Toya Jackson's recording "From Nashville To You".. He then became involved in the Internet, offering Bill Chase music that had been out of print for years. As a result of Tommy's youthful enthusiasm the dynamic energy of Bill Chase is being rediscovered by high school and college trumpet students around the world.
Today, Great Music has become one of the major e-commerce music sites. It has grown to showcase artists such as Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Walt Johnson, Buddy Killen, The Full Moon Ensemble, as well as classic favorites such as The Light Crust Doughboys, Bela Lugosi, BoxCar Willie. It also features Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, and the Big Bands, including the U.S. Armed Forces Band and many others. Great Music keeps expanding with new and exciting artists.
Source: Tommy Martin Home Page
Listen: Chase - Download Chase Music on iTunes
Listen: Amazon.com: Chase: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios
Listen: The Ides of March - Download The Ides of March Music on iTunes
Listen: Amazon.com: Ides Of March: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios
Listen: Amazon.com: Walter Johnson: Jonathan Richman: MP3 Downloads