Tail of the Weak: Matilda and Diadorius
Talk about true love. Matilda Scaduto and Diadorius Bryant met in the spring of 1945 in Milwaukee. She…..a hotel elevator operator of Italian descent, and he…..a musician from Georgia.
Two days after meeting, they eloped and settled down in Moultrie, Georgia…about an hour southeast of Shellman, where Diadorius was born in 1920.
19-year old Matilda said she “recognized” him immediately…she had seen his face in a dream when she was eight years old, and had “looked for him forever.”
They struggled financially, living in a mobile home during their first years together. While Diadorius was out playing music, Matilda sat at home writing “song poems”. She would show them to her husband who found them quite interesting and not bad at all.
In earnest, they began writing as a team and before long had 80 songs at their disposal. They tried selling their songs to country artists and were roundly rejected until Little Jimmy Dickens recorded “Country Boy” in 1948. The song went to #7 on the charts and the couple began a working relationship with Acuff-Rose Music Co. in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1950, the Bryants left Moultrie and headed to Nashville. They made it as far as Macon. With finances low, Mr. Bryant landed several gigs until they were back on their feet and back on the road to Nashville.
Beginning in 1957, the couple gained national exposure after writing a string of hits for a young, rockabilly duo from Kentucky, The Everly Brothers. They also landed hits with Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly.
The husband-wife team has been celebrated, awarded, inducted, and honored over their creative career. You’ll understand why after you read this list of their biggest songs:
ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM
BRAND NEW HEARTACHE
BYE BYE LOVE
DEVOTED TO YOU
RAINING IN MY HEART
WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE
YOU’RE THE REASON GOD MADE OKLAHOMA
Lesson to aspiring songwriters on patience and persistence: “Bye Bye Love” was turned down over 30 times before The Everly Brothers made it their first million-selling hit.
Gram Parsons fans will instantly recognize several titles written by the successful duo. Their songs have been recorded by Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Sonny James, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride, Jim Reeves, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Dean Martin, Simon & Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and Elvis Costello.
For over 35 years the married couple wrote more than 6,000 songs, with over 1,000 recordings which sold more than 200 million copies.
Not bad at all for two young lovers from Moultrie, Georgia.
Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.