Elton Britt – Cannonball Yodel

11th January 2022 · 1950s, 1956, Country, Music

Elton Britt, famed for his yodelling, made his name with a patriotic song that went viral during World War Two. This equally infectious number came along 14 years later in 1956.

Nicknamed “The Highest Yodeler” for surpassing the blue yodels of country legend Jimmie Rodgers, the Arkansas farm boy made more than 60 albums in a 30-year career spanning the Forties, Fifties and Sixties.

He first came to fame when he won a talent search to find a new vocalist for The Beverly Hill Billies in 1930, and changed his name from James Baker to Elton Britt.

Britt’s biggest moment came in 1942 when his cloyingly sentimental recording of There’s A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere was adopted by patriotic Americans as a symbol of the war effort.

It became a huge hit, selling four million copies, and he became the first country artist to earn a gold disc for a million sales. He was even asked to perform it for President Roosevelt at the White House.

Sadly for him, that was before the music charts came into existence in 1944, though he did hit the Country Top Ten 11 times during the last half of the 1940s.

He also starred in a couple of movies and ervern made a brief bid for the Presidency in 1960 – albeit as a publicity stunt – when he ran for the Democratic nomination.

His last hit in 1968 paid tribute to his musical inspiration in The Jimmie Rodgers Blues. Four years later he died after having a heart attack while driving his car in Pennsylvania.