|Webb Pierce and Charlie Lamb|
Nashville music industry stalwart Charlie Lamb died early this morning. He was 90 and had been battling pneumonia. Lamb was a celebrated journalist who also worked as a manager and later as an entertainer.
Born June 21, 1921, his colorful career path began in hometown Knoxville, Tennessee, where he worked as a carnival barker, as well as at the Knoxville Journal and radio stations WKGN and WROL.
In 1951 Lamb moved to Nashville to write for Cash Box magazine. He went on to found his own local trade publication, Music Reporter, which shuttered in 1964. A year later, the liner notes he penned for Father & Son—Hank Williams Sr. & Jr. earned a Grammy nomination. Today his writing is celebrated with a journalism award named in his honor, which is presented annually at the International Country Music Conference.
“When somebody like Charlie Lamb passes, it’s like a library burning down,” said longtime friend and fellow historian Robert Oermann. “He was a wonderful source of historical anecdotes and one of the most charming conversationalists I’ve ever met. Charlie was also one of the last of the great Music Row ‘characters’—they don’t make execs nearly as colorful nowadays. He was also a million laughs, and I’m going to miss our lunches together a whole lot.”
According to the Encyclopedia of Country Music, his varied journey included management of Ed Bruce and Connie Smith, and promoting the music of Kitty Wells and Elvis Presley. He also appeared on television shows including Candid Camera, and in films including Ernest Goes To Jail.
Lamb was an active supporter of Nashville’s music trade organizations. He was a member of the original boards of the Gospel Music Association, and the Country Music Association, and was a lifetime member of the latter. He also served as the first president of the Nashville chapter of NARAS.