Mary Holladay Pederson

Born: Pell City, AL

Pop, R&B, Country Background Vocals Elvis Presley, Percy Sledge, Neil Diamond, B.J. Thomas

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Date of Birth:  April 30, 1946

Place of Birth:  Birmingham, AL


In 1967, during their Jr. year at Auburn University, Mary and one of the members of the quartet, Susan Coleman Pilkington, were asked to sing backup on a recording session in Muscle Shoals AL.  There they teamed with Jeanie Greene and Donna Thatcher at Quin Ivy’s Studio.  It wasn’t long before they were hired to sing backup by all the Muscle Shoals Studios, Quinvy, Fame, Broadway Sound and Muscle Shoals Sound as well as American Sound in Memphis, and Atlantic Records in New York.  During this time, Mary can be herd with artists; Ella Washington, Percy Sledge, Joe Simon, Joe Tex, The Boxtops, Clarence Carter, Sam Baker, Roosevelt Greer, Bobby Womack, Merrilee Rush, James Purify, Etta James, B. J. Thomas, Ben E. King, and Dionne Warwick.

In 1968, after graduating from Auburn University, Mary moved to Memphis where their group continued singing backup on hit recordings such as Neil Diamond’s “Brother Loves Traveling Salvation Show,” “Cry like A Baby” by the Boxtops, and “Hooked On A Feeling” by B.J. Thomas.

In January of 1969, Jeannie Greene, Donna Thacther, Mary Holladay and Ginger Holiday (Mary’s sister) were hired to sing backup on the legendary American Studio recordings by Elvis Presley,  “In the Ghetto”,  “Suspicious Minds”, “Cold  Kentucky Rain” and others.  Mary and Ginger continued to do Elvis’s backup vocals until 1977.  That same year Ginger and Mary started singing with Ronnie Milsap at a club in Memphis and had been back to Muscle Shoals, AL to sing background on the Sonny and Cher and R.B. Greaves recording sessions.

In the summer of 1970 Mary and Ginger moved to Nashville with Ronnie Milsap and his band. Ginger and Mary sang with Ronnie at the “King of The Road Hotel” and on the road for about a year.

During their Nashville years Mary and Ginger sang in recording studios with Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich, Charlie Pride, Ronnie Milsaps, Linda Ronstadt,  Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens, Billie Swan, Joan Baez and Dave Loggins.

Other hit recording Mary can be heard on:  Nine Pound Steel - Joe Simon, Take Time To Know Her - Percy Sledge, Always Something There to Remind Me - R.B. Greaves, The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down - Joan Boaz, The Streak - Ray Stevens, I Can Help- Billy Swan, and When Your Hot Your Hot- Jerry Reed.

Source: Alabama Musicf Hall of Fame

Facebook: Mary Holladay Pederson (52)

Podcast Interview: Mary Holladay Pederson Interview on Graceland Beat Podcast

More info: The Holladay Sound » News » St. Clair News Aegis (Pell City, AL)

Neil DiamondCry Like a Baby, The Box TopsAmerican Legend: B.J. Thomas (Re-Recorded Versions), B.J. ThomasElvis 75, Elvis PresleyBest of Percy Sledge (Original Artist Re-Recording), Percy Sledge


Listen: Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show (Live): Neil Diamond: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Neil Diamond by Neil Diamond - Download Neil Diamond on iTunes Cry Like A Baby: The Box Tops: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Cry Like a Baby by The Box Tops - Download Cry Like a Baby on iTunes

Listen: Hooked On A Feeling: B.J. Thomas: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Hooked On a Feeling by B.J. Thomas - Download Hooked On a Feeling on iTunes

Listen: In The Ghetto: Elvis Presley: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Elvis 75 by Elvis Presley - Download Elvis 75 on iTunes

Listen: Elvis Presley Suspicious Minds: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley - Download Suspicious Minds on iTunes

Listen: From Elvis in Memphis: Elvis Presley: Music

Listen: Elvis Presley - Download Elvis Presley Music on iTunes

Listen: Take Time to Know Her (Limited Edition): Percy Sledge: Music

Listen: Best of Percy Sledge (Original Artist Re-Recording) by Percy Sledge - Download Best of Percy Sledge (Original Artist Re-Recording) on iTunes


Subscribe to Newsletter

Rick Carter Radio - All Alabama Music

Accepting submissions and adding them daily. Artists can send their songs in MP3's to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. One song per email. Graphics and song and artist info should be included of course.

This space
for rent!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.