September 23, 2022
The above is the original recording of "Burning Love."
Arthur Alexander (May 10, 1940 – June 9, 1993) was an American country soul songwriter and singer. Jason Ankeny, music critic for AllMusic, said Alexander was a "country-soul pioneer" and that, though largely unknown, "his music is the stuff of genius, a poignant and deeply intimate body of work on par with the best of his contemporaries." Alexander's songs were covered by such stars as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Otis Redding, Tina Turner, Pearl Jam, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Alexander was born in Sheffield, Alabama, United States. Working with Spar Music in Florence, Alabama, Alexander recorded his first single, "Sally Sue Brown", under the name of June Alexander (short for Junior), which was released in 1960 on Jud Phillips' Judd Records. (Phillips is the brother of music pioneer Sam Phillips).
A year later, Alexander cut "You Better Move On", at the fledgling FAME Studios, which at that point was located above the City Drug Store in Florence, Alabama. (The studio would shortly move to its more famous location in nearby Muscle Shoals, Alabama.) Released on Nashville's Dot Records, the song became a soul/R&B chart hit, and laid the foundation for the modern recording studio FAME. "You Better Move On" is perhaps Alexander's best-known song, covered by the Rolling Stones, the Hollies, George Jones & Johnny Paycheck, Gene Clark (from the Byrds) and Mink DeVille. "Anna (Go to Him)", a U.S. R&B Top Ten Hit, was covered by the Beatles, Roger McGuinn (from The Byrds) and Humble Pie. The Beatles did live recordings of "Soldier of Love" (also performed by Marshall Crenshaw and Pearl Jam), "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues", and "Where Have You Been" at the Star-Club in Hamburg in 1962.
In 1962, Steve Alaimo was the first to record Alexander's "Every Day I Have to Cry", which reached No.46 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Dusty Springfield also recorded the song for her first UK solo EP, "I Only Want to Be With You", released in 1964.
In the mid-1960s, Alexander switched to another label, Sound Stage 7, but failed to find commercial success. Although a 1972 album for Warner Brothers was promising, the singer's potential seemed to wither. He secured a pop hit with "Every Day I Have to Cry Some" on Buddah Records in 1975, but the success remained short-lived. The song was also covered by Ike and Tina Turner (produced by Phil Spector), the McCoys, Dusty Springfield, Joe Stampley, C.J. Chenier, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Gentrys and others. The follow-up single "Sharing The Night Together" (written by Muscle Shoals songwriters Ava Aldridge and Eddie Struzick) reached No. 92 on the R&B charts, but earned Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show a Top 10 hit in 1978; the Dr. Hook version was used in the 2012 Family Guy episode "Mr. and Mrs. Stewie".
For many years, Alexander was out of the music business; he was a bus driver for much of this time. In 1990, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He began to perform again in 1993 as renewed interest was shown in his back catalogue.His last album Lonely Just Like Me was his first in 21 years.
He signed a new recording/publishing contract in May 1993 but suffered a fatal heart attack on 9 June 1993 in Nashville, three days after performing there with his new band. He is buried in Florence City Cemetery in Florence, Alabama.
Alexander is the only songwriter whose songs have been covered on studio albums by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan (who recorded "Sally Sue Brown" on his 1988 LP Down in the Groove). In 1987, Paul McCartney claimed that "If the Beatles wanted a sound, it was R&B. That's what we used to listen to and what we wanted to be like. Black, that was basically it. Arthur Alexander."