Ever since I started this blog, I have been planning to write a post about one of my favorite singers, Arthur Alexander. I have been putting it off because I feared I could not do justice to his story. But since Arthur Alexander Jr.’s birthday is this week, the least I could do was to post my favorite Arthur Alexander song, “Every Day I Have to Cry.” And then maybe we will return to more of his music at another time.
Alexander — who was born on May 10, 1940 in Sheffield, Alabama –should be much more famous than he is. His songs have been covered by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, George Jones, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others. The country soul singer began recording music in the early 1960s. Some of his songs became well-known, like “You Better Move On” and “Anna (Go to Him),” the latter recorded by The Beatles.
Several singers covered “Every Day I Have to Cry” before Alexander got around to recording it. Steve Alaimo first recorded it in 1962, and the Bee Gees recorded it in 1965. Ike and Tina Turner covered it in 1966. Alexander finally recorded “Every Day I Have to Cry” in 1974.
Unfortunately, Alexander’s career never took off like it should have. After his 1972 album Rainbow Road found little success, he left the music business. By the 1980s, he was working as a bus driver for the Center for Human Services in Cleveland, Ohio.
But as interest in his catalog begin to grow, he returned to his music in the early 1990s. In 1993, he released his first album in 21 years, Lonely Just Like Me. He kept his bus driving job as the album was released, but as the record began to gain attention, he prepared for a tour.
At the time of the album’s release, Alexander welcomed the renewed interest in his career “I’m finding out the seeds I planted all that time ago were good seeds. That’s really something – I was gone for such a long time.”
Alexander finally was on the verge of the success he deserved. But then, soon after the album’s release, he had a fatal heart attack and died on June 9, 1993.
Alexander’s birthday is a great day to track down and listen to more of his music, as are the other 364 days of the year. There are plenty of good seeds to find. One of my favorite albums is the special edition of his 1990s comeback album, Lonely Just Like Me, but it is hard to go wrong with any of his music. For more on Alexander’s career, check out this post by Richard Younger or this article on RCR. Or you may read his 1993 obituary in the New York Times.
What is your favorite Arthur Alexander song? Leave your two cents in the comments.
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