My grandfather was born Floyd Franklin Lanning in 1923 in the middle of the Depression of Oklahoma to his father, a farmer and his mother, a housewife.
They were very poor as most families in that time. Floyd would play with a doll he made out of sticks from the yard and twine. He would go to town with his dad and see people drinking Coke and be broken hearted that he didn't have a mere 5 cents to buy one for himself. He grew up listening to Jimmie Rodgers. Known for the yodeling style of country music, he was who inspired him as a singer and musician.
When he became a young man he moved to his grandparents home in Arizona. There he met Marty Robbins at a little place called Fred Kare's night club. Floyd had already been playing in a band with a steel guitarist named Jimmy Farmer. Although already being a singer himself, he asked Marty to be his lead singer and Floyd played lead guitar for him. They were a big hit at Fred Kare's.
The house would be packed when they played. That's where Marty Robbins was found by Little Jimmie Dickens who helped them record their first singles as a band in Hollywood, California.
My grandfather played lead guitar on his songs: "Tomorrow You'll be Gone", "Crying 'Cause I Love You", "I Wish Somebody Loved Me", and "I'll Go On Alone." They all got major radio play, but after that some unknown turmoil happened between Floyd and Marty and he didn't continue to be his guitarist. But Marty ended up moving to Cleveland and my grandfather followed. There he met my grandmother Bessie and they married. They had a little girl in 1967 named Tara, my mother. Marty asked them to move down to Franklin, Tennessee with them to be a part of the happening country scene going on in Nashville.
They all lived on a big farm in the outskirts of Franklin.
During that time they met many people in the business as I mentioned. Marty had his own record label for a short time named Charger Records, titled in reference to a charger car because of his racing history. He let my grandfather record his own '45, 2 song, vinyl on the label in 1976 and made over 400 copies.
They played on a few radio stations but because of their rocky friendship at that point, the records were never promoted any further and my grandfather's progression in the country music business went no further.
*You can purchase this special '45 vinyl for $24.99 at the link below!
Marty had a pompous body guard who he called a "prize fighter" and threatened Floyd that he couldn't beat him and so one day my grandfather of course proved him wrong, laid him out, and spat in his face and saying: "Why can't you hit me boy?" I mention this comical anecdote because I reference it in my ballad I wrote for him "The Ballad of Floyd Lanning" which you can find on all streaming platforms.
They all lived on Marty Robbins' farm until his death in 1981.
My grandfather eventually gave up playing music in the 90's and focused on building a race car from scratch. He was truly a mechanical genius, he made his own tires for it and many of the internal parts for the engine. He also fixed and worked on all of Marty's cars on the farm and was never paid for any of his work.
Floyd finished his race car for the most part but always strove to do more and worked on it until his death in 1993.
He was a soft spoken man, but left such a big impact on all of us. That's why I wrote the ballad and continue to spread his story and musical legacy, in hopes of impacting others in the same way.
THe Ballad of
BUY THE VINYL!
CLICK TO BUY A COPY!
"Pretty Boy Floyd"
It's finally here: the release of my grandfather's posthumous album! I'm so proud of this accomplishment. I've worked for months recovering the recordings from the 45 vinyl with "Holding Onto You" and "Beginning of Goodbye" and from these 40+ year old reel-to-reel tapes my grandmother still had. I hope you enjoy these amazing original songs my grandfather recorded in the 70's and even though he never made it big, his legacy and voice will live on through this album forever.
This is what comes inside!
*DOWNLOAD THE ALBUM FREE HERE: https://soundcloud.com/floydlanning