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I’ve been a member of Spectropop, the 60’s music forum for about four years, and have reunited on line with many of my old friends in the music business. Ron Dante, producer and former lead singer of the Archies, Al Kooper writer and producer, and Artie Butler, Arranger. I’ve also become friendly online with dozens of other songwriters, producers musicians, and disc jockeys I didn’t know before.

For almost a year I’ve been corresponding with Eddie Hodges, former child actor (“The Music Man”, “Come Blow Your Horn”) and recording artist (“I’m Gonna’ Knock On Your Door”, “Girls, Girls, Girls, Were Made To Love”. He sent me an E-mail last week about an honor he received, which I’d like to share with you.

Artissimo,

It was a great evening. I was honored as the first Mississippian to ever receive a Grammy, but the actual Grammy went to the orig. cast album of The Music Man. I just happened to sing a couple of songs on the album, but according to John Hornyak of the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy, that qualified me for a Grammy commendation.
The performances were fantastic. Jerry Lee Lewis looked a bit frail backstage, but told me he was fine – he did three songs and played and sang well. Marty Stuart was the emcee and performed alone and with the North Mississippi Allstars. It was fun reminiscing backstage with Marty about mutual friends – his performances were absolutely electric – what a talent! The North Mississippi Allstars were incredible, and I got to see them jam at a club later in the evening when they sat in with a local blues group. The legendary James Burton also performed and was great. When the Williams Brothers got up and did an accapella version of”Amazing Grace” with impeccable harmony, there was not a dry eye in the house. The Governor called me up onto the stage to recognize me individually and I was moved to tears. He also recognized the son of the legendary blues man Robert Johnson, who also was there. What a thrill it was to meet him. If they have a DVD of the show, I’ll get a copy for you.

There were people from NARAS, BMI, Malaco Records, AT&T, etc. Hartley Peavey, of Peavey Electronics who co-sponsored the event, gave away two of their guitars to members of the audience. NARAS put together a video of highlights form past Grammy Awards shows in which Mississippians won Grammys. I was glad I decided to go.

Attached are a couple of pics. One is from the The Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson and shows the North MS Allstars and me in pics with the Governor. The other is just one I wanted to share with you that is a favorite from my personal collection and shows me sitting on W.C. Handy’s lap when I was a little kid.

I wish you could have been there. It was a humbling experience for me and my shyness was kickin’ my butt the entire time. But it was an honor and a privilege I will never forget.

God bless,
Eddie

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Considering all of the talented people who are from from Mississippi, including Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Faith Hill, and dozens of other artists, for you to have been the first mississippian to receive a Grammy is quite an honor! First I want to congratulate you as an artist, then as a humanitarian for earning your B.A. in psychology and becoming a mental health counselor!

You could have taken the dark road, as many former child stars have, but you chose a path of light. May you continue to inspire everyone you meet.

Thanks for sharing your joy with me and that picture of you and the father of the blues, W.C.Handy ( “St.Louis Blues”). I was about the same age as you were in that picture when I met Mr. Handy. His son was my music teacher.

Regards, Artissimo

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

Pictured at top Frank Sinatra and Eddie Hodges in “A Hole In The Head “, featuring the song that won the academy award, “High Hopes”

For more about Eddie Hodges http://www.meekermuseum.com/ehodges.html

For Spectropop http://spectropop.com