Just one of the many country music heads who made the transition from performer to executive, Tony Brown took a unique road to the top. Born the son a preacher, Brown was forbidden to listen to secular music during his youth, his musical education coming solely at the hands of gospel music. It was this that helped land Brown a touring gig with the Oak Ridge Boys, a country gospel act popular throughout the '70s. Brown went on to play with Elvis a year before the king's death, as well as country crooner Emmylou Harris. It was Harris who, during late-night listening sessions on the tour bus, caught Brown up on much of the music he had missed as a child. Finding himself drawn to country music, Brown started working A&R for RCA and, after years of begging for an opportunity, was asked to produce gospel singer Shirley Caesar in 1983. His efforts brought the attention of MCA head Jimmy Bowen, who wooed Brown away from RCA and became, for all intents and purposes, his mentor. Years of careful study under Bowen's watchful eye resulted in Brown becoming one of the most successful men in the music industry and a frequently uttered name on industry power lists. ~ Steve Kurutz, Rovi

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