GAC extends condolences to the family, friends and fans of Thomas Paul “Tompall” Glaser. Tompall, a singer, publisher and studio owner known for his association with the “Outlaw” country movement in the ’70s, died Tuesday, August 13 at his home in Nashville after a long illness, reports the Tennessean. He was 79.
Tompall and his brothers, Chuck and Jim, owned and operated a studio near Nashville’s Music Row, formerly known as Glaser Brothers Sound Studio but more commonly referred to as “Hillbily Central.” Classic songs like Waylon Jennings’ “Dreaming My Dreams” were recorded within its walls.
“That building was a fortress,” Glaser Sound secretary and publicist Hazel Smith said in Michael Bane’s book Outlaws: Revolution In Country Music. “It was a place where they could go and hide. It was home to them, and there were no Picassos on the wall.”
The studio hit its stride its stride in 1976 when RCA Records released Wanted! The Outlaws, featuring Tompall, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Jessi Colter. A compilation of work featuring previously released material from each artist, the album topped the country charts and solidified their “outlaw” status. The album went on to be country music’s first album to sell more than a million copies.
Tompall was born in Spalding, Nebraska and grew up on a farm. He and his brothers performed on local radio and in area venues as well as Arthur Godfrey’s network television show in 1957. They came to Nashville in 1959 at the request of Marty Robbins, who hired them to sing harmony at his concerts. He signed them to his own Robbin Records. The Glaser brothers also toured with Johnny Cash and sang harmonies on his “Ring of Fire,” Roy Obison’s “Leah,” and Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.”
Tompall struck out on a solo career following the brothers’ disbandment in 1973. By then, he was friends and business partners with Waylon Jennings, brought together by both music and their love of pinball as well as a dislike of conventional ways. They co-produced Waylon’s Honky Tonk Heroes album and enjoyed success before going their separate ways following a dispute over a publishing deal.
A private family memorial is being planned. For the complete obituary, visit The Tennessean.