Francis Craig Residence
Francis Craig, noted composer and bandleader, was born in Dickson, Tennessee on September 10, 1900, the son of Methodist minister Robert James Craig and Fannie Frost Craig. At age ten, he played the piano by ear. In 1919, Mr. Craig entered Vanderbilt University, where his father had received the first Founder's Medal for Oratory.
Mr. Craig organized a successful band, forcing him to choose between a school or musical career. The band won.
From 1923 until 1947, Mr. Craig played at the Hermitage Hotel Grill Room, making his the longest continuous engagement in hotel history.
Tremendous national popularity followed the 1923 release of his theme song "Red Rose.” In 1925, he led the first orchestra to play on radio station WSM. Mr. Craig also was the host of "Sunday Down South,” which was broadcast coast to coast on the NBC network for twelve years. In 1941, Mr. Craig composed the official Vanderbilt school song "Dynamite,” which is played at each school athletic contest.
In 1947, after twenty-seven successful years, retirement beckoned. As a momento of his career, Mr. Craig recorded "Red Rose” on the Bullet label
Recorded in the legendary WSM Studio C, "Near You” became the first major hit recorded in Nashville, staying at the top of the Hit Parade for seventeen consecutive weeks, the longest period that a song was number one in Hit Parade history. "Near You” was the number one hit of the year and eventually sold more than three and a half million copies. The tune was a major international hit. The sheet music was recorded in fourteen different languages. Mr. Craig went on a coast-to-coast tour playing to record crowds in most of the principal cities of the United States. In 1977, George Jones and Tammy Wynette recorded the song and their version became a number one country hit.
His other records included "Beg Your Pardon,” a tune which was on the Hit Parade for twelve consecutive weeks and sold more than one million copies in its first year, "Tennessee Tango,” "Too Much Sugar For a Dime” and "Don't Make Me Sorry."
Many famous persons were part of his orchestra including Metropolitan Opera singer and concert star
James Melton, Dinah Shore and Phil Harris. Mr. Craig purchased this residence at 3822 Whitland Avenue and lived
here with his wife Elizabeth and daughters, Celeste and Donia, from 1926-1937. He died on November 20, 1966.
Erected by Whitland Area Historical Society
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1923.
Location. 36° 7.829′ N, 86° 49.977′ W. Marker is in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker is on Whitland Avenue just west of Cantrell Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3822 Whitland Ave, Nashville TN 37205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Frank House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Montgomery Bell Academy (approx. 0.3 miles away); Peach Blossom (approx. 0.3 miles away); Vine Street Christian Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Washington Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Johnson's Station (approx. 0.4 miles away); West End High School (approx. half a mile away); Richland-West End (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nashville.
Also see . . . Francis Craig. Wikipedia article (Submitted on June 13, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 5, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. This page has been viewed 117 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 5, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.