site logo

Freddie Hart Biography

Last updated: 08/17/2014 07:11:16 PM

Instruments: Vocals, Songwriter
Date of Birth: December 21,1926
Place of Birth: Lochapoka, Alabama

Born Fred Segrest, Hart was one of 15 children of sharecropper parents. He had to grow up quickly, at the age of five he began playing the guitar, by age 12 he had quit school and started working for his parents. At age 15, with the outbreak of World War II, he lied about his age and joined the Marine Corps., seeing action at both Guam and Iwo Jima. While in the military, Hart developed an interest in the martial arts, earning Black Belts in both Karate and Judo. After the war he taught self defense at the L.A. Police Academy.

In 1948, he met Hank Williams who taught him a great deal about songwriting. Then in 1951, he joined Lefty Frizzell's band for a year. It was through Frizzell that Hart got his first recording contract with Capitol Records.

By 1959 he had his first hit recording - "The Wall" on Columbia Records. It was in 1971, that Hart had his big hit "Easy Lovin'". The song went to number one on the country charts and to number seventeen on the pop charts. It won two Grammy awards and was recognized by The Country Music Association as "The Song of the Year" for two years in a row - 1971 and 1972.

Hart's songwriting has generated hits for Porter Wagoner and Charlie Rich among others. In discussing his songwriting Hart says, "I try to put down in my songs what every man wants to say, and what every woman wants to hear".

Biography From
Singer/songwriter Freddie Hart had a long, fascinating odyssey on his way to becoming a popular country hitmaker in the early '70s. Hart was born in Lochapoka, AL, in 1933, one of 15 children born to a sharecropper. When he was five years old, his grandfather fashioned him a makeshift guitar out of a cigar box and wire from a Model T. He ran away from home at age seven, and was sent to a Civilian Conservation Corps camp at 12. When Hart was 16, he enlisted in the Marines by lying about his age, and served in Iwo Jima and Okinawa; during his off hours, he performed country music in officers' clubs. After his discharge, he worked odd jobs in various locations, and wound up moving to Nashville in 1949 to be a roadie for Hank Williams. He cut a single later that year, the George Morgan-penned "Every Little Thing Rolled into One," and worked on his songwriting, with hints from Williams. He moved to Phoenix in 1950 to work at a cotton mill, but wound up meeting Lefty Frizzell there; he offered Frizzell one of his songs, but instead was signed up as Frizzell's tourmate. He recorded for Capitol without commercial success, and left Frizzell's show in 1953 to move to Los Angeles. There he made regular appearances on Town Hall Party, and also earned his black belt in karate, which enabled him to become an instructor at the Los Angeles Police Academy.

Hart also continued to write songs, and in 1955 Carl Smith took his co-composition "Loose Talk" to the top of the country charts. With success to his name, Hart finally landed another record deal with Columbia in 1959, and had minor hits with "The Wall" and "Chain Gang," recording in a style that was mostly honky tonk tinged with rock & roll. He made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1961, but didn't chart again until 1965, when "Hank Williams' Guitar" narrowly missed the country Top 20. He released several albums on Kapp during the late '60s, and returned to Capitol in 1970, landing a moderate hit with "The Whole World Holding Hands."

By this point, Hart had refashioned himself as more of a country-pop singer with a slightly risqué (at least, for the genre and the time) take on romance. The move paid huge dividends when his 1971 single "Easy Living" came out of nowhere to top the country charts (it also crossed over to the pop Top 20). The album of the same name also hit number one country, and Hart followed it with three more number one singles in 1972 — "Bless Your Heart," "Got the All Overs for You (All Over Me)," and "My Hang-Up Is You." "Super Kind of Woman" and "Trip to Heaven," both from 1973, also hit number one, and "If You Can't Feel It (It Ain't There)" reached the Top Five. Hart landed three additional Top Five hits with 1974's "The Want-To's" and 1975's "My Woman's Man" and "The First Time." But suddenly, the hits dried up, and after a last album in 1977, Hart and Capitol parted ways. He recorded for a succession of smaller labels during the '80s, and charted several more singles over 1980-1982, with the Top 20 "Sure Thing" being the biggest. Released in 1987, "Best Love I Never Had" was his last commercially oriented appearance; he subsequently performed often in Branson, MO. He issued a gospel album, I Will Never Die, in 1996, and another one called Sermon on the Mountain appeared in 2002.