donnie fritts prone to leanInstruments: Keyboards, Songwriter

Date of Birth: November 8, 1942

Place of Birth: Florence, Alabama

1995 America's Music Award

2008 Induction Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Walk of Fame Star

Donnie Fritts began playing drums in local bands at age 15 and later developed into a session keyboard player. His first studio experience was in the recording studio located in Florence above City Drug Store.

Working closely with Rick Hall, Billy Sherrill, Dan Penn, Arthur Alexander, David Briggs, Jerry Carrigan and Norbert Putnam, Fritts was involved in many of the early songs and recordings created in the Shoals music industry.

In 1965, Fritts was signed to a Nashville publishing company and had songs recorded by Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis. He later met Kris Kristofferson who was just beginning his songwriting career. When forming his band, Kristofferson called on Fritts, who has remained friend and co-worker for over two decades, performing live, on recordings and in numerous movies throughout that period.

Donnie was the keyboard player for Kris Kristofferson for over twenty years allowing him to experience every musicians dream - playing at Carnegie Hall! Not only did he perform all over the world with Kris, Donnie also appeared in three of Sam Peckinpah's movies, "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid", "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia", and "Convoy" as well as other movies including "A Star Is Born" and "Songwriter".

As a song writer, Fritts is known for "We Had It All", recorded by Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and many others, "You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning", "Breakfast In Bed", and "Choo Choo Train".

Kristofferson and world famous producer Jerry Wexler co-produced an album on Donnie at Muscle Shoals Sound in 1974 which has become a collector's item within the music industry. His new album, "Everybody's Got A Song" was released nationally November 18, 1998. The album includes guest appearances by a few of Donnie's close friends whose names you might recognize: Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Waylon Jennings, Delbert McClinton, Tony Joe White, Leroy Parnell & John Prine!

Chart Songs as a Songwriter

Song Title Recording Artist Chart* Year
Easy To Love Joe Simon 12 1977
You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning Bonnie Koloc 12 1974
You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning Charlie Rich 22 1980
Choo Choo Train Boxtops 26 1968
We Had It All Waylon Jennings 28 1973
We Had It All Dolly Parton 31 1986
You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning Roy Clark 35 1975

*Chart position is based on Billboard Magazine Pop, Country, R&B, & A/C Charts. Other music industry charts may have shown higher chart positions.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


More info:

Wikipedia Donnie Fritts

Funky Donnie Fritts: Carving Out His Own Groove in Music City by Tim Ghianni

Encyclopedia of Alabama - Donnie Fritts

A friend indeed: Donnie Fritts brings Billy Bob Thornton to George Lindsey film festival by Mary Colurso -- The Birmingham News By Mary Colurso

Funky Donnie Fritts: The GRITZ Interview by Eric Gebhardt


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Donnie Fritts: One Foot in the Groove

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