Arthur Alexander is a little-known rock performer of the Sixties yet his influence extends to some of the top performers of the decade.
Arthur Alexander, Jr. was born in 1940 in Sheffield, Alabama. He developed an interest in music as a teenager, and began to write and record songs. His first recording as a performer was Sally Sue Brown on the Judd label in 1960. Judd was owned by Jud Phillips, the brother of Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. The following year Alexander recorded a song he had written titled You Better Move On at a studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Released on the Dot label, You Better Move On entered the pop top forty in March, 1962 and proved to be Alexander's only top forty pop record as a performer, but he still had more than a decade remaining in his career in the music business. The song reached number 24, and was one of the first hits to come out of Muscle Shoals.
Alexander continued to write songs, and did studio work in Muscle Shoals. His recording of the self-composed Anna [Go To Him] became a top ten hit on the R&B charts. Curiously, the words "go to him" do not appear in the lyrics, however, "go with him" is repeated several times. As a writer Alexander seemed to favor the use of the word "girl" in the lyrics of a number of his songs, such as his Go Home Girl.
In England John Lennon became a fan of Arthur Alexander's songs, particularly Anna [Go To Him] which the Beatles recorded and included on one of their early albums. Another song that was recorded by Alexander, and then was recorded by the Beatles, is Soldier Of Love.
The influence of Arthur Alexander on young musicians of the 60's was spreading. The Rolling Stones admired his work, and made a recording of his prior hit You Better Move On. Others who recorded his songs included Tina Turner, the Bee Gees, and Ry Cooder.
By 1975 his music career was winding down. His recording of Everyday I Have To Cry made it to number 45 in pop that year. In 1979 he recorded some duets with Carl Perkins. He worked at other jobs, including as a bus driver for quite some time. In 1993, Arthur Alexander resumed his music career, forming a small band. He suffered a fatal heart attack and died on June 9, 1993.
Alexander helped to shape the music of the Sixties. Altough not generally very well known, those who remember him do so primarily for for his songs You Better Move On and Anna [Go To Him], and for his influence on the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, particularly John Lennon.
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