Hardrock Gunter was a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He got a guitar
as a Christmas present when he was about 11 years old and began singing.
In high school, Hardrock was active in the ROTC and won the William
Randolph Hearst Trophy Team Medal in the National ROTC Rifle Matches
in 1952 as well as 14 other ROTC honor medals. He also served in the military
in World War II and was a prisoner of war from 1944 to 1945. He was
made a second lieutenant in the infantry as a result of his experience
in the Ardennes campaign.
After his stint in the service, he worked in Birmingham from 1946 to 1950
and cut his first record on the Bama label. By the time 1951 rolled around,
he was doing two early-morning shows over radio station WAPJ and a daily
half-hour television show over WAFM-TV. Not to mention a three hour personal
appearance gig, six nights a week at the Rose Room in Birmingham for 17 months.
In January 1951, he was called back into the U.S. Army.
When he was discharged from the service on November 3, 1952, he joined
the crew at WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. There he had his own
daily radio show and also emceed the Saturday night show, "World's Original
By 1954, he was back in Birmingham and working as a dj at WJLD.
He recorded for Decca had had several releases. He achieved a bit of fame
with "Birmingham Bounce" which was a hit for Red Foley in 1950. In fact,
that song was a "BMI Pin-Up" hit; picked by a British DJ to be his theme song;
recorded by Red Foley, Tex Williams, Pee Wee King, Leon McAuliffe,
Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton and Art Lund.
He also wrote other tunes such as:
- Don't You Agree
- Hesitation Boogie
- If I Could Live My Dreams
- Dixieland Boogie
- Honky Tonk Baby
- I've Gone Hogwild Over You
- I Believe Mountain Music Is Here To Stay
- Naptown, Indiana
Credits & Sources
- Cowboy Songs No.32; March-April 1954, American Folk Publications, Inc.;