Does the name “Boudleaux Bryant” ring a bell?
Boudleaux [pronounced bood-low] and his wife Felice were a very successful songwriting team active from the 1940s until the 1980s. Among their hits were several Everly Brothers songs, such as “Wake Up Little Susie,” which made it to round 3 of this year’s Name Song Tournament.
Where did Bouleaux’s unique name come from?
It was actually his middle name; he was born Diadorius Boudleaux Bryant in Georgia in 1920. His father fought in World War I, and at one point a French soldier named Boudleaux — or something similar — saved his life.
(I say “or something similar” because, doing records searches, I can only find a handful of people with the surname Boudleaux. Yet I see tens of thousands with the surname Boudreaux. So I wonder if the father either misheard the name or intentionally jazzed it up a bit.)
Boudleaux Bryant’s four siblings were sisters LaFontissee and Danise and brothers Neruda LeVigne and Jascha Mascagni.
Boudleaux’s wife/writing partner Felice was born with the name Matilda. She later adopted “Felice” because it was a pet name Boudleaux had given to her.
(Playwright Ketti Frings also wrote under a husband-bestowed pet name.)
- Georgia Family Group Sheet for the Daniel Green BRYANT Family
- Kingsbury, Paul. (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.