A&R and Manager Advice

Country Music Managers 1970s

Country Music Managers 1970s

Whether you're an aspiring country musician dreaming of following in the footsteps of classic artists or just a music lover, strolling down memory lane, there's something about the 1970s country music era that continues to fascinate people. During this time, industry figureheads helped transform a niche market into a thriving industry that touched the hearts of millions. Let's take a look at some watershed country music managers of the 1970s era.

Country Music in the 1970s

The 1970s saw a flaring evolution in country music, crossing over to pop territory. This era produced celebrated artists such as Conway Twitty, Dolly Parton, George Jones, and many others. A reflection of the era's societal changes, the country music conveyed messages of freedom, love, independence, and struggle. So, how could these artists take their music to the masses? They needed managers who navigated the wild terrain of the music industry.

Country Music Managers

Much of the success of these artists can be credited to their managers who nurtured their talents, negotiated contracts, and shaped careers. Three country music managers set the standards in the 1970s:

1. Bob Ferguson

Renowned record producer and songwriter Bob Ferguson was crucial for several marquee artists, such as Dolly Parton. Apart from being a gifted songwriter, he was also celebrated for his ability to manage artists and projects efficiently, helping Parton realize her crossover potential.

2. Jim Halsey

Another manager who left an indelible impression on the industry was Jim Halsey. He's best known for strategically managing The Oak Ridge Boys, successfully transitioning them from gospel to country music. His innovative promotional tactics revolutionized concert tours for country music artists.

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

3. Porter Wagoner

Porter Wagoner was more than just a famous artist; he was instrumental in managing Dolly Parton's career during her initial years, significantly influencing her professional trajectory. Wagoner’s apt management helped her evolve into the global icon she is today.

Country Music Managers 1970s Example:

Imagine you're an aspiring country singer-songwriter in the heart of the South. You're performing at local venues, writing songs, and trying to make a name for yourself. It's not easy, the competition is fierce. One day, you strike ‘gold’—a music manager with the likes of Bob Ferguson, Jim Halsey, or Porter Wagoner hears your music and sees your potential.

With this person by your side, you're suddenly thrust into the spotlight, touring nationally, signing record deals, and playing on the Grand Ole Opry stage. That is the power and pivotal role of a good music manager.

You've taken a nostalgic journey back to when many of the legendary country music artists were just starting to make their mark—when the right manager at the right time could be the catalyst for a rural legend's rise to stardom. Share this walk through memory lane with your fellow country music lovers or aspiring artists.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the role of a country music manager in the 1970s?

In the 1970s, a country music manager was primarily responsible for guiding the artist's career, securing record deals, organizing tours, managing public relations, and often negotiating contracts and financial arrangements. They played a pivotal role in the success of country music artists by helping to develop their image and ensuring that their music reached a wide audience.

Who were some of the most influential country music managers of the 1970s?

Some of the most influential country music managers of the 1970s included Bob Neal, who managed Elvis Presley early in his career; Jack D. Johnson, who worked with Charley Pride; and Ken Mansfield, a key figure for Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter.

How did managers discover new country music talent during the 1970s?

Managers often discovered new talent through live performances at country music clubs, festivals, or through industry connections. Word of mouth and demo tapes were also common ways for budding artists to get noticed by managers in the 1970s.

What was a country music manager’s involvement in an artist's creative process?

While the extent of a manager’s involvement varied widely, some were closely involved in the artist's creative process, offering input on song selection, album production, and even stage performance style. They aimed to ensure the artist’s music and image resonated well with the target audience.

How did country music managers promote their artists?

Managers promoted their artists by securing radio play, organizing promotional tours, booking TV appearances, and fostering relationships with record labels and industry professionals. They also utilized print media, like magazines and newspapers, to build an artist’s image and reputation.

Did country music managers use different strategies than pop/rock managers at that time?

Yes, country music managers often tailored their strategies to the genre's audience, which tended to value authenticity and tradition. They might focus on regional tour circuits, country radio stations, and specific country music venues which were different compared to the broader appeal that pop/rock music targeted.

What role did managers have in an artist's touring schedule?

Managers played a critical role in planning and organizing an artist's touring schedule. They coordinated with promoters, booked venues, negotiated performance fees, and ensured logistical aspects of the tour were in place.

How did country music managers handle the media?

Country music managers acted as a liaison between the artist and the media, coordinating interviews, appearances, and press conferences. They also managed any public relations issues, shaping the public narrative surrounding the artist.

Did managers influence country music record sales in the 1970s?

Absolutely. By orchestrating promotional campaigns, arranging for radio play, and securing prime touring spots, managers directly influenced record sales. Their efforts could make the difference between a hit record and a flop.

What challenges did country music managers face in the 1970s?

Challenges included navigating the rapidly evolving music industry, dealing with increasing competition, managing the clash between traditional country sounds and the popular "outlaw" movement, as well as overcoming technological limitations of the era in terms of recording and distributing music.

How important was a manager's network in the success of a country artist?

A manager's network was crucial. Having strong connections within the industry could lead to more opportunities for the artist and often resulted in better deals, more significant exposure, and access to essential resources.

Were there any significant female country music managers in the 1970s?

Though the industry was predominantly male, there were some prominent female managers, such as Hazel Smith, who represented various artists and is credited with coining the term "Outlaw music."

How did country music managers work with record labels?

Managers often acted as the intermediary between artists and record labels, negotiating contracts, setting up recording sessions, and ensuring that the label adequately promoted the artist's work.

What role did personal relationships play in management during the 1970s?

Personal relationships were everything in the 1970s. Strong bonds between managers and artists, as well as between managers and industry professionals, helped to establish trust, which was essential for long-term success in the music business.

How did managers contribute to the overall growth of the country music genre in the 1970s?

Managers helped the country music genre grow by pushing their artists into new markets, advocating for broader radio play, and securing high-profile appearances and collaborations that showcased the genre’s versatility and appeal.

Was managing a country artist in the 1970s a lucrative job?

It could be quite lucrative for successful managers who represented in-demand artists, with income derived from a percentage of the artist's earnings from record sales, tours, and merchandising.

How tech-savvy did managers need to be during the '70s era?

While they didn't need the technological knowledge required today, they still needed to understand the basics of recording technology, as well as how evolving media formats and distribution channels could affect the music's reach.

How did country music managers handle multiple artists at once?

Managers often had teams to support them, delegating tasks as needed. Balancing multiple artists required careful time management and prioritization to ensure each artist got the attention they deserved.

What impact did television have on a manager's strategy?

Television was a powerful tool for exposure. Managers sought to get their artists featured on popular shows and specials which could significantly boost an artist’s profile and popularity.

In what ways did the dynamic between artist and manager shape the music produced?

The artist-manager dynamic often influenced music production, with managers guiding artists towards certain sounds or styles they believed would be commercially successful, while good managers also respected the artist’s creative autonomy.

How has the role of a country music manager evolved from the 1970s to today?

The role has expanded with the digital age, including embracing online marketing, social media management, and navigating the complexities of streaming services. The core fundamentals of promoting and advocating for an artist remain the same, but the tools and platforms have evolved significantly.

Also, don't forget to explore our other exciting articles and guides as you immerse yourself in the magic of the golden era of Country music with Lyric Assistant.

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

author-avatar

About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

Related Posts