I never met Baker Knight. I wish I had. But what little I do know about him has held my interest for almost 50 years.
Baker was born in Birmingham Alabama in 1933. He played guitar, wrote songs and fronted several local bands including Baker Knight and the Knightmares.
With dreams of making it big, Baker moved to LA in 1958, hoping to get his songs recorded, secure a recording contract or become a movie star. For several years he struggled with little success in any of these endeavors.
A chance meeting with Ricky Nelson provided the songwriting break he needed.
Nelson decided to record two of Baker’s songs which helped establish him as a songwriter. The two songs Nelson recorded were Lonesome Town which reached #6 on the Billboard charts and I Got A Feeling which reached #11. Ricky Nelson recorded many more Baker Knight songs as did Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank Sinatra and Mickey Gilley.
[This was the Academy of Country Music Song of the Year in 1975]
Throughout his life Baker continued to write, record and release his own recordings but found little solo success.
He returned to Birmingham Alabama in 1985 where he unfortunately developed and struggled with some serious health problems. He died in 2005.
Lonesome Town in my opinion is one of the greatest rock n roll ballads ever written. It certainly may be one of the saddest.
Baker has yet to be recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Songwriter Hall of Fame.
A true Rock and Roll Joe.
Westlake Village California