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Floyd Cramer

Floyd Cramer (October 27, 1933 – December 31, 1997) was an American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the "Nashville Sound." He popularized the 'slip note' piano style where one note slides effortlessly into the next. This was a major departure from the percussive piano style which was popular in the late 1950s.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Cramer grew up in the small town of Huttig, Arkansas, teaching himself to play the piano. After finishing high school, he returned to Shreveport, where he worked as a pianist for the Louisiana Hayride radio show. After Cramer relocated permanently to Nashville, Allen "Puddler" Harris, a native of Franklin Parish in northeastern Louisiana, replaced him as the pianist for the Hayride.

Cramer moved to Nashville in 1955. The use of piano accompanists in country music was growing in popularity, and by the next year he was, in his words "in day and night doing sessions." [1]

Before long, Cramer would become one of the busiest studio musicians in the industry, playing piano for stars such as Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, The Browns, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, and the Everly Brothers, and many others. It's Cramer's piano, for instance, on Presley's first national hit, "Heartbreak Hotel." However, Cramer remained strictly a session player and a virtual unknown to anyone but music industry insiders.

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