David Briggs

Dublin Core


David Briggs


Killen, Lauderdale County, Rock music, Elvis Presley, FAME Music Studio, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Arthur Alexander, Rick Hall, Alabama Music Hall of Fame, CMA Awards


David Briggs (March 16, 1943 - )

David Briggs has had a career that can best be described as impressive, topped off by working with Elvis Presley as his studio keyboardist, and later going out on tour with the King. But lest one think that he would rest on his laurels, David delved into new avenues of the music business, with success at every turn. David Paul Briggs was born March 16, 1943, in the small town of Killen, Alabama, located less than 20 miles from Muscle Shoals and its, at the time, nascent music industry. Music was an early part of Briggs’ life, and he took part in his first recording session at the ripe old age of 14. Soon, he was working with Jerry Carrigan, Terry Thompson, and Norbert Putnam, becoming a part of the original rhythm section for Rick Hall’s FAME Music Studio in their original studios in Florence, Alabama, and at the present studio, in Muscle Shoals. It was here that Briggs was able to work with such artists as Arthur Alexander (“You Better Move On”), Jimmy Hughes (“Steal Away”), and Tommy Roe (“Everybody”). In 1964, Briggs left the Shoals area, moving to Nashville. It was here that David happened to be in the right place at the right time. While recording his gospel album, “How Great Thou Art,” Elvis Presley asked David to fill in on keyboard as Floyd Cramer was running late. Impressed with David’s style and versatility, Elvis had him stay and play organ, even after Cramer had resumed his duties on the piano. It was a collaboration that would last until just before Presley’s death in 1977, and included Briggs joining Elvis in his 1975 Las Vegas engagement, and later, all his concert dates from 1976 through February, 1977. It was also during the time that he met Presley that David and fellow FAME rhythm section member Norbert Putnam opened Quadrafonic Studios in Nashville, recording with some of the biggest names in music, among them Neil Young, Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffet and the Jackson Five. Briggs sold his part of the studio in 1976 and later opened House of David Studios in an early 20th-century house located on Music Row. Briggs even retrofitted the house with a secret passageway from the basement garage to a tracking room just for Elvis in order that he could come and go without being mobbed by fans, a convenience Presley was not able to take advantage of before he died. In addition to his studio work, Briggs has served as musical director on the CMA Awards shows, and recorded commercials for such clients as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Coors, and Chevrolet. David Briggs was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

Watch & Listen:

"Conversations on Elvis - Norbert Putnam, Chip Young & David Briggs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O26y8jqzS-0
"Arthur Alexander - 'You Better Move On' , David Briggs-piano, Terry Thompson-guitar, Forest Riley-acoustic guitar, Norbert Putnam-bass, Jerry Carrigan-drums" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLmh6hDo2_8
"Jimmy Hughes - Steal Away, David Briggs-piano, Terry Thompson-guitar, Norbert Putnam-bass, Jerry Carrigan-drums" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwESSxBVTuw
"Everybody - Tommy Roe, featuring Nobert Putman-bass, David Briggs-piano, Bobby West-guitar, and Jerry Carrigan-drums." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OesKimDbcA


John Griffin, University of North Alabama


David Briggs: Alabama Music Hall of Fame http://alamhof.org/inductees/timeline/1999/david-briggs/, Accessed November 20, 2016
House of David website
http://www.houseofdavidstudios.com/, Accessed November 20, 2016
Interview, David Briggs http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/articles/tcb-band-david-briggs.html. Accessed November 20, 2016

All images courtesy of Mr. George Lair and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, unless otherwise noted.




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