Our State Song
-Terri Rodriguez, Magnolia Manor Property Manager
About Hank Martin
Hank Martin grew up in Bishopville and Sumter, South Carolina. His singing career started in high school where he played and sang in bands. His first band was when he was 14 and was called The Jaybirds in Bishopville. Later moving to Sumter he was in the DuPrees. While attending school in Mississippi, he was the lead vocalist with his friend Buzz Arledge, for four years with the band “Tim Whitsett and The Imperial Showband” from Jackson. They had recording contracts with several national companies including Epic and Lowery Records. He also was the lead vocalist for a year with the Cleveland, MS band “The Reets”. He married the former Linda Munday of Cleveland, MS.
When he finished college, Hank and Linda moved to Columbia, South Carolina. For 8 years, Hank was a pharmaceutical representative and one of the original members and lead vocalist of the popular South Carolina band “Second Nature”. They had a recording contract with Bang Records, the former New York label that relocated to Atlanta, which had launched the careers of Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, The McCoys, Peabo Bryson, and Paul Davis.
In 1978, Hank and Linda moved to Nashville, Tennessee with their three children to further his career in the music business. He started writing songs for Tom Collins at PiGem Chess Music, singing on record sessions as a background singer, writing, producing, and singing on radio as well as TV commercials. He co-wrote a song with John Schweers, “You’re The Part Of Me”, that was recorded by Jim Ed Brown in 1979 and was an ASCAP award winning song. B.J. Thomas recorded a Gospel song that Hank co-wrote with Archie Jordan, “He’s Walkin’ In My Shoes” in 1980.
Hank was asked to write a song about South Carolina, his home state, for a music project in Nashville. Unrelated to the project, the song started getting attention in South Carolina. In 1984, the South Carolina State Legislature passed a resolution that was signed by Governor Richard Riley and the song became the new South Carolina State song. The title is “South Carolina On My Mind”.
The highlight of Hank’s singing career came in 1991 when he was invited to sing at the Billy Graham Crusade at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey.
Recently Hank was invited to have a special song written for James Brown and perform it for him at a “James Brown Celebration Day” in his hometown of Barnwell, SC. Hank called on Archie Jordan to write it and they performed it for James Brown with the house band that day. Mr. Brown and his manager commissioned Hank to produce the song. It’s called “Doin’ The James Brown”. Hank also wrote and produced a song for his hometown of Sumter, SC about the same time.
Hank continues his love for music in Nashville by singing, writing, producing, and being an encouragement to others by using all the years of experience in this wonderful music business.
Hank and Linda have been married 41 years and have 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and a grandcat.