Alton “Al” Embry, long-time manager, agent and talent promoter known for working with artists including Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, The Statler Brothers, Alabama, and Merle Haggard, died Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, at his Old Hickory, Tennessee, home at 82 of natural causes.
Born in Butler County, Kentucky on Aug. 19, 1937, Embry began his career in the music business in the ’60s working as a liaison in securing entertainment industry photo coverage opportunities for the popular national publication, Look Magazine. Embry’s interaction with artists led him to meet music sensation of the day, Jerry Lee Lewis in the mid-60s. That meeting turned into what would become a decades-long working relationship. Traveling the world with Lewis, he would meet virtually all the top name performers of the era across the platforms of Rock & Roll, Rockabilly, R & B, and Country, many of whom would subsequently become his clients in the years to come.
Beginning his career as a talent booking agent in Nashville with the Hubert Long International Agency on Music Row, he ultimately rose to become Vice President, handling the careers of the agency’s roster of major country artists including George Jones, Tammy Wynette, The Statler Brothers, and Merle Haggard.
In 1975, Embry decided to chart his own independent course in Nashville with the launch of Al Embry International. He began booking a startup band Wild Country shortly after launching the agency and that group went on to become known as the multi-award-winning mega-group Alabama. Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, and Chubby Checker were among his top artist clients.
Embry dove into the television side of the business and executive produced the Fats Domino and Friends HBO special, which was a first Cinemax session, with guests Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones, and Paul Shaffer. This specific show won Embry his first Cable ACE award. Booking the “Fight Night for Children” concert series, Al Embry’s production abilities produced successful events for a long list of top mainstream and country names such as the Charlie Daniels Band, Joan Jett, Lenny Kravitz and Grand Funk Railroad.
Embry is survived by his wife of 34 years Tracy Embry, sister Brenda (Dale) Stanley, sister Veneda (Richard) Pickard, brother JR “Audley” (Natalie) Embry, sister Vickylynn Martinez, sister-in-law LaNora Gaylord, son Wayne (Kathryn) Embry, son Tony (Deborah) Embry, daughter Tammy (Ronnie) Fie, grandson JR Embry, grandson Michael Embry, grandson Scott Embry (Vantha), granddaughter Akeysha Embry, great grandson DJ Devilla, great granddaughter Caitlin Embry, great grandson Andy Embry, and great granddaughter Ellie Embry.
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