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.”
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 that 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.