Born into a family of musicians, James Loden arrived on May 1, 1929 in Hackleburg, Alabama. Playing a mandolin and singing at the age of three, he would soon be joining his mother, father and sister on a local radio program and touring the southern states to appear at a variety of venues.
At twenty-one years of age, while living in Memphis, Sonny received a call from Uncle Sam to serve in the military in Korea. Eighteen months later he was discharged and after arriving in Nashville his roommate, Chet Atkins, opened the door for Sonny James to record for Capitol Records.
While appearing on the famed Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Sonny was invited by Slim Whitman, who’s “Indian Love Call” was a big hit, to join him on tour. Dubbed the “Southern Gentleman”, Sonny returned to Nashville where he recorded his first hit, “That’s Me Without You.” Four chart hits later in 1956 he would hit with “Young Love”, a multi million seller #1 hit on both the country and pop music Hit Parade.
Ten more country hits from Sonny James before in 1964 he had an unequaled streak of twenty-one #1 country hits out of twenty-five trips to the Hit Parade. The four songs that didn’t reach #1 peaked at #2 and #3. Between the years 1953 and 1983 Sonny James had a total of 72 hit singles.
Among his chart toppers were, “You’re the Only World I Know,” “Behind the Tear,” “Take Good Care of Her,” “I’ll Never Find Another You,” “It’s the Little Things,” “A World of Our Own,” “Born To Be With You,” “Only The Lonely,” “Running Bear,” “Since I Met You Baby,” “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” “My Love,” “Don’t Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Endlessly,” “Empty Arms,” “Bright Lights, Big City,” “Here Comes Honey Again,” “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do,” and “When the Snow is on the Roses.”
Appearing in several motion pictures and a guest on numerous top rated television programs, including Ed Sullivan, Bob Hope and Hee Haw, In 1969 Billboard magazine named him “Artist of the Year.”
Sonny James has retired and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
in 1961 Sonny James was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2006 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2009 he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.