Tom T. Hall is known as a storyteller, a composer with attention to detail, and a gift for storytelling. Many musicians have covered his songs, the most famous being Jeanne C. Riley’s 1968 hit “Harper Valley PTA”, it also won several singles, including seven singles.
Hall, the son of a masonry minister, gave his son a guitar when he was eight. He has already started writing poems, so starting to write songs is a natural process for him. Hall began learning music and acting skills from local musician Clayton Delaney.
At the age of 11 his mother died. Four years later, his father was shot and killed in a hunting accident, rendering him unable to work. To support himself and his father, Hall dropped out of school and found a job at a local garment factory. While working at the factory, he formed his first band, Kentucky Travelers. The band played bluegrass music and performed at the local school and radio station in Morehead, Kentucky. The station is sponsored by the Polar Bear Flour Company; Hall wrote a jingle for the company. After the Kentucky Travelers breakup, Hall became a radio DJ.
In 1957, Hall was drafted into the army and stationed in Germany. During his stay in Germany he performed in the local NCO club of the armed forces radio station, where he performed mainly original material and usually had the advantage of comedy. After four years of service, he was discharged from the hospital in 1961.
After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Roanoke College and became a journalism student; he supported himself as a DJ at a radio station in Salem, Virginia.
One day a songwriter from Nashville was visiting Salem Radio and heard Hall’s song. Surprisingly, the songwriter submitted the song to a publisher named Jimmy Key, who runs New Key Publishing. Key hired Hall as a songwriter and brought the song to various artists. The first successful singer with Hall’s songs was Jimmy Newman, who took “DJ for a Day” to number one on the country music charts in 1963. In early 1964, Dave Dudley carried “Mad.” In the top 10. Consecutive success persuaded Hall to move to Nashville, where he planned to continue his career as a professional songwriter.