TCB Band : Tony Brown : (Keyboards)
Tony Brown was born in 1946 into a family heavily involved with gospel music. Tony's father was a preacher and the bulk of his musical education came from this genre. At thirteen Tony was playing piano and it wasn't too long before he played in the family gospel group. He remained with gospel music for thirteen years in all and it was indeed a great inspiration to him in life. After moving on from the family group he spent seven years with J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet, eventually working for The Blackwood Brothers. Tony was a talented arranger and his presence created a huge impact on the group. He left the Blackwood Brothers around 1972 and was replaced by Tommy Fairchild, a former Oak Ridge Boy. He then moved to Nashville seeking a new direction in his career. He joined The Oakridge Boys who were extremely popular back in the 70's. Their music consisted of gospel AND country, an opportunity for Tony to ease away slowly from so much gospel and into country music.
Tony's first meeting with Elvis Presley was at The International Hotel in Vegas. He was working with JD Sumner And The Stamps Quartet at the time. After the show, on J.D.'s instruction, it was a drawing of the straws situation between them all as to who would go back stage to meet Elvis. Tony drew the short straw! Of course J.D. meeting Elvis after the show was a dead cert as he was Elvis' hero. Tony's second meeting with Elvis was in Memphis. It took place at The National Quartet Convention which is a yearly gathering of all Southern Gospel Quartets. Elvis would turn up at some stage to meet up with J.D. and other gospel singers.
Tony's first taste of working with Elvis occurred when he was picked to join the group Voice. The gospel group was put together by Sherrill Neilson and the name was Elvis' idea. Voice would open the shows and where also used as a house band to entertain Elvis and his entourage at his various homes. Sometimes though, they played background on recording sessions. Tony went to a recording session at RCA in Hollywood. Elvis was recording his Today album. They were trying out a track from the album called Bringing It Back. Tony was there with the rest of Voice to do any backgrounds Elvis may have wanted them to do.
He was summoned over by David Briggs and told to play the song. Elvis was impressed with Tony's input, so it ended up being recorded with Tony on keyboards. His next recording involvement with Elvis was on the Moody Blue release which was recorded in the Jungle Room at Graceland.
After Voice split up, Tony worked for Elvis again in his band and played his first concert as a full time member of The TCB Band in April of 1976. He played at each concert up until the final one on June 26th 1977 at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis. After Elvis' death, Tony thought, 'What now?' Working for Elvis had been the most exciting and achieving time in his career. However, Tony soon became a highly sort after musician in Nashville and has worked and recorded with some of the best, such as Emmylou Harris and The Hot Band, Ricky Scagga, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell and many more. He was head hunted by RCA and while with RCA he signed up the group Alabama, who are the biggest selling group in country music history. Later, Tony became president of MCA in Nashville and after seventeen years, he resigned. Now a senior partner at Universal South Records, he is still producing for many of the top names in the music industry today.