CU Trustee, Buzz Cason, to Present Life, Experience in Music Industry

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Buzz Cason, a newly-appointed Campbellsville University trustee who is a well-known Nashville author, songwriter, publisher and creative writer’s group director, will present a program about his life and experience in the music industry Tuesday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in The Gheens Recital Hall.

The event is open to the public free of charge.

Cason has lived the American rock ’n’ roll dream. He started Nashville’s first rock ’n’ roll band in the 1950s and over the last five decades his songs have been recorded by the Beatles, Jimmy Buffet, Gloria Estefan, U2 and many other artists.

Artists recording songs published by Cason include: Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, O.C. Smith, Bobby Goldsboro, Andy Williams, Eddy Arnold, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Roy Clark.

His hit song “Everlasting Love” is popular around the world.

After the program, he will sell autographed copies of his book & CD “Living the Rock ’n’ Roll Dream” for $20.


Cason is president/owner of Southern Writers Group USA, a collection of writer-owned publishing catalogs, and Creative Workshop recording studio. A native of Nashville, Cason dedicates most of his time these days to writing and publishing songs through his companies, which are affiliated with BMG Songs for international sub-publishing.

Cason’s list of professional credits include: Board of Governors of National Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), National Trustee for NARAS, Southern Writers Advisory Committee (ASCAP), East Coast Advisory Committee ASCAP, and a member of CMA.

His career started in 1956 when Cason, then an Inglewood, Tenn., teenager and junior at Isaac Litton High, was given the opportunity to lip-synch “White Christmas” on the Noel Ball Saturday Showcase, a local talent show on WSIX-TV (ABC), then Channel 8.

Musically in those days, rhythm and blues and early Elvis recordings were having

their influence on him. He sang in the youth choir at his local church, learning harmonies from his mother, Rosa, an alto.

Cason enjoyed performing on camera and met the musicians at the television station, soon forming a group they called, “The Casuals,” generally recognized as Nashville’s first rock ’n’ roll band.

By 1957, The Casuals had become a touring act, replacing The Everly Brothers on a tour of 60 fair dates.

During this same period, Buzz met Bobby Russell, an aspiring writer at the old Globe Recording Studio in Nashville, and the two began to co-write. Their song, “Tennessee,” was covered in 1958 by Jan and Dean on Liberty, produced by Lou Adler. Thus came their first Hot 100 record on the BILLBOARD chart and an association of more than 25 years began.

In 1966, Cason and Russell started a publishing and record company, Rising Songs, with Fred Foster (then president of Monument Records). From this association came “Everlasting Love,” co-written with Mac Gayden and recorded in 1967 by Robert Knight.

In 1967, Cason and Russell formed their own publishing company, Russell-Cason Music. Out of this partnership, they published and wrote songs including “The Joker Went Wild,”, “Honey” and “Little Green Apples.”

The publishing company was sold to Welk Music in 1974. The years to follow proved to be successful for Cason, not only as a vocalist behind superstars such as Elvis Presley and Kenny Rogers, but also as a songwriter.

He felt the need for a studio to produce and bring writers and artists together in a relaxed, state-of-the-art atmosphere, so in 1970, he founded Creative Workshop, a two-studio recording facility where Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, The Judds, The Doobie Brothers and Emmylou Harris have recorded material.

Just prior to the founding of Creative, Cason had been introduced to Jimmy Buffett. His album, “High Cumberland Jubilee,” was cut in the new Creative Workshop. Cason continues to publish approximately 50 of Buffett’s early compositions.

The biggest copyright of the ’70s for Cason came when entertainer Steve Gibb turned in “She Believes In Me,” a mega-hit for Kenny Rogers, produced by Larry Butler. The song has achieved sales of over 20 million units and also received a “Song of the Year” Grammy nomination.

The Beatles released the long awaited “Live at the BBC” recordings, which contained Cason’s “Soldier of Love,” co-written by Tony Moon and previously cut by Arthur Alexander in 1962.

In 1995, “Everlasting Love” was re-cut by Gloria Estefan.

Cason continues to write and produce working out of the original studio.

After five decades, Cason said, “If I hadn’t met Bobby Russell, I never would have known a real songwriter and never would have made it in the business. He was not only a true genius, but a great, great friend.”

“Every song has a life of its own. I try to make mine unique and fresh and not get hung up on trends unless a groove is out there so neat that you cannot resist it. A great song will find its way like a person chases their childhood dreams. Hopefully, someone eventually falls in love with them!”

Cason said he once heard Frank Sinatra say, “I loved every minute of it,” referring to his life in entertainment. Cason said, “That pretty much sums up my career. God’s been good! My family and I have been blessed and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve met and worked with wonderful people.”

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.

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