Moorhead in Sunflower County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
John Bright “Johnny” Russell (1940-2001) was born and raised in Moorhead and went on to become a star of the Grand Ole Opry and a popular country recording artist, with such hits as “Catfish John” and “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer.” He is best remembered as the author of "Act Naturally," one of the greatest country-pop crossover songs–a hit for both Buck Owens and the Beatles that sold over twenty million copies.
Johnny Russell Born in Moorhead on January 23, 1940, John Bright Russell grew up listening to Lefty Frizzell and Ernest Tubb on the Grand Ole Opry and longing to be an entertainer. When he was twelve, his father, a sharecropper and mechanic, moved the family to Fresno, California; as a teenager there Russell began winning talent contests as a joke-cracking singer of country songs. Just out of high school, while playing in small clubs, he was signed by Radio Records and recorded his song “In a Mansion Stands My Love.” When the song attracted attention as covered by Jim Reeves on RCA Victor, Russell headed for Nashville. He was nineteen.
After his occasional recordings on ABC and MGM Records in the early 1960s had little impact, Russell returned to Mississippi, then to California as a local
In 1971 Russell finally began focusing on his own performing career. Chet Atkins signed him to record for RCA Victor, which led to his highest-charting records, “Catfish John” (reflecting his Delta upbringing) in 1972, the Grammy-nominated “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer” and “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor” the following year, and “Hello I Love You” in 1975, all by other songwriters and in contrast to the heartbreak ballads Russell usually wrote. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton had a hit with his “Making Plans” (1980), George Strait with his “Let’s Fall to Pieces Together” (1984), and Gene Watson with “Got No Reason to Go Home” (1985).
Russell was widely seen on TV’s Hee Haw, and he joined the
Erected 2013 by the Mississippi Country Music Trail, U.S. DOT(FHA), & MS DOT. (Marker Number 22.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Country Music Trail marker series.
Location. 33° 26.987′ N, 90° 30.418′ W. Marker is in Moorhead, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is at the intersection of West Delta Avenue and Washington Street, on the left when traveling south on West Delta Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 917 West Delta Avenue, Moorhead MS 38761, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Where The Southern Crosses The Yellow Dog" (within shouting distance of this marker); Freedom School Bombing (approx. 8.1 miles away); Club Ebony (approx. 8.1 miles away); Riley B. King (approx. 8.3 miles away); Church Street (approx. 8.3 miles away); Giles Penny Savers Store (approx. 8.3 miles away); Inverness (approx. 8.3 miles away); Little Milton Campbell (approx. 8.3 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia entry about Johnny Russell. (Submitted on September 16, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Mississippi Country Music Trail. (Submitted on September 17, 2014.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 16, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 203 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 16, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.