OLD HICKORY, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Alton “Al” Embry, a veteran talent exec and concert promoter who played an outsized role in the careers of music legends such as Alabama, George Jones, and Merle Haggard, has died. He was 82.
According to his publicist, Embry passed away at his home in Old Hickory, Tennessee of natural causes.
Embry, who was born in Butler County, Kentucky, began his music career in the 1960s while working with the bi-weekly Look Magazine, where he facilitated photo coverage of live music events.
While working with Look, Embry met Jerry Lee Lewis and developed a working relationship that led to Embry joining Lewis on tour.
Embry then signed on as a booking agent at the Nashville-based Hubert Long International Agency, which repped some of the biggest names in country music, including George Jones, Tammy Wynette, The Statler Brothers, and Merle Haggard.
Embry eventually rose to the role of Vice President at the agency but in 1975, decided to venture out for himself and launched Al Embry International.
One of Embry’s first clients was the band Wild Country, which eventually changed its name to become Alabama. Other clients included Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, and Chubby Checker.
In addition to his work with live entertainment, Embry also helped to bring music to television with the HBO special Fats Domino and Friends, which brought artists such as Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones, and Paul Shaffer to the small screen.
The show proved a hit and won Embry his first Cable ACE award, and paved the way for new projects, including booking the Fight Night for Children” concert series, which hosted performances by bands such as Grand Funk Railroad, the Charlie Daniels Band, and Lenny Kravitz.
Even after he retired, Embry kept his hand in the business and remained active with industry organizations such as CMA, ACM, IEBA, NATD, and IAFE.
Embry is survived by his wife of 34 years Tracy Embry, sister Brenda (Dale) Stanley, sister Veneda (Richard) Pickard, brother JR “Audley” (Natalie) Embry, sister Vickylynn Martinez, sister-in-law LaNora Gaylord, son Wayne (Kathryn) Embry, son Tony (Deborah) Embry, daughter Tammy (Ronnie) Fie, grandson JR Embry, grandson Michael Embry, grandson Scott Embry (Vantha), granddaughter Akeysha Embry, great-grandson DJ Devilla, great-granddaughter Caitlin Embry, great-grandson Andy Embry, and great-granddaughter Ellie Embry.
For visitation and funeral information please contact Hermitage Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens. 555 Shute Ln, Old Hickory, TN 37138. 1-615-889-0361.