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Donnie Fritts

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  • Born: Florence, AL
  • Years Active: 1970s, 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

One of the architects of the famed Muscle Shoals Sound, songwriter Donnie Fritts also enjoyed success as a longtime associate of Kris Kristofferson. A native of Florence, Alabama, as a teen Fritts played drums with local acts like the Satellites and Hollis Dixon; by the late 1950s, he was writing and performing with the likes of Arthur Alexander, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, all of them joining forces to forge the unique fusion of Southern soul, pop, country and R&B immediately recognizable as the Muscle Shoals Sound. Fritts' early songs were recorded by performers as diverse as Percy Sledge, Dusty Springfield, the Box Tops and Tommy Roe; by the late 1960s, he was employed as a Nashville staff writer, often working alongside fellow up-and-comer Kristofferson. Beginning in 1970, Fritts was Kristofferson's touring keyboardist, and they even appeared together in films including Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and A Star Is Born. In 1974, Fritts issued his debut solo LP, Prone to Lean; however, no more solo material was forthcoming prior to 1997's Everybody's Got a Song, which included new renditions of his classics "We Had It All" and "A Damn Good Country Song" recorded with guests including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Lucinda Williams and Delbert McClinton.