Gene Allison Biography
“When I was a kid…growing up, we’d always had company comin’ in. We had a piano and different people would come in and each one would play different. After they’d leave, I’d go in there and it got so I could play anything I heard. Later, a ways, I got interested in singing with them,” – Gene Allison
Gene Allison, an American R&B Singer, is best known for his 1958 hit “You Can Make It If You Try.” It hit #36 on the U.S. Pop Chart and #3 on the U.S. R&B Chart. Two additional songs “Everything Will Be Alright” and “Have Faith”, both released in 1958, placed in the Top 20 for R&B. The song is considered an early precursor to 1960’s Soul Music, and Gene’s fusion of secular and gospel music on a successful record began a trend that continues through today. Sam Cooke said, “I wish I could sing like Gene Allison.”
Gene was born in Pegram, Tennessee. As a kid, he sang in his church and was a session singer for Fairfield Four, a famed gospel quartet, leader Sam McCrary. Gene used the money from You Can Make It If You Try to open a restaurant in Nashville, which stayed in business for about ten years.
Gene recorded over 32 songs during his career, although only three would go on to become commercial successes. Although Gene had a short career, his limited releases still had an impact on Soul Music. Gene inspired Ted Jarret, an influential gospel singer, whose sounds would go on to “be copied on countless soul records.” (Phil Sweetland, 2004). Jarret would sign Gene to Calvert Records to make gospel music. He also got a recording contract from Jee-Jay Records.
The Rolling Stones would do a cover of You Can Make It If You Try in 1964. The song continues to be listened to even today, with one YouTube video having over 235,000 views. One of the commentators wrote, “Some records my mom would play for her (and our family’s) enjoyment. Some records were also meant to teach my brother and I a thing or two about the world … When things seem to get damn near impossible for us, Mr. Gene Allison (and my mom) whispers this record in our ear and we persevere. This little record will live forever.”
The song was also featured in a 2018 Under Armour commercial [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-Cpw7eZwAg], from which many people discovered the song for the first time and subsequently searched for it on YouTube.
Michael Gray, an editor at the Country Music Hall of Fame, said “Not only was he one of the most revered vocalists to come out of Nashville, but many hard-core R&B and soul enthusiasts rate him as one of the finest singers in the whole R&B field.”
By the early 60’s Gene’s career had faded. Even though his career faded, he continued to perform throughout his life. Outside of performing, he was shy and rarely gave interviews, and had made plans to make a comeback. Gene passed away on February 28th, 2004 of kidney failure.
Frequently Asked Questions
was an American soul singer. He is best known for his hit single “Are You Sure” which peaked at number-one on the Billboard R&B chart in 1965.
Where Was Gene Allison Born?
Gene Allison was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the fourth of six children born to his parents. His father was a sharecropper and his mother was a housewife.
When Was gene allison Song ‘My Heart Remembers ‘ Released?
The song was released on December 16, 1957.