Composer Albert E. Brumley was born on a cotton farm near Spiro, Oklahoma on October 29, 1905. Before his song writing career, he attended the old Hartford Musical Institute at Hartford, Arkansas and sang with the Hartford Quartet. Later he taught singing schools in various parts of the Ozarks. He met his wife-to-be, Goldie Edith Schell at one of these schools in Powell, Missouri. They were married in 1931 and continued to live at Powell, where they raised their six children.

It was in 1929 that Brumley actually composed “I’ll Fly Away”. He recalled that he was picking cotton and singing the popular song, “If I Had The Wings Of An Angel”. Suddenly, he thought about flying away. Quote, “actually, I was dreaming of flying away from that cotton field when I wrote I’ll Fly Away”. That thought, of course, like the thoughts that underlay all his many songs, was based upon his own deep spiritual convictions.

Mr. Brumley had tried his hand at writing music for a number of years but for the most part this had been just for his own pleasure. Goldie encouraged him to try to have more of his songs published. Albert agreed to try to sell one of his songs and I’ll Fly Away was mailed to the Hartford Music Company one hot afternoon in July of 1932. Goldie was right and the Hartford Music Company published the song in the book, The Wonderful Message. The song began to gain national recognition while numerous others began asking to be allowed to use it in their church books. At the time that the song was accepted and published he was working in his father-in-law’s general store for a dollar a day and was then shortly afterward employed by Hartford as a $12.50 a month staff writer.

The song’ “I’ll Fly Away” became Mr. Brumley’s most recorded song.

Biographical Data and Facts:

Born near Spiro, Oklahoma on October 29, 1905…grew up on a cotton farm, died November 15, 1977.

BEFORE HIS SONG WRITING CAREER: he attended the old Hartford Musical Institute at Hartford, Arkansas, sang with the Hartford Quartet. Later taught singing schools in various parts of the Ozarks. Met his wife-to-be at one of these schools at Powell, Missouri (Goldie E. Schell). They were married in 1931 and continued to live at Powell, where they lived most of their lives.

SONG WRITING CAREER: Started in 1931 with “I’ll Fly Away”, his most recorded song. Spent 34 years as a staff writer for gospel’s famed Hartford and Stamps/Baxter publishing companies, before forming Albert E. Brumley & Sons Music Company, Country Gentlemen Music and purchasing Hartford Music Company. He wrote over 800 gospel and ‘sentimental’ songs.

FAMILY: Children: Bill, Al Jr., Bob, Tom, Jack and Betty.

Inducted into the Country Song Writers Hall of Fame-1970. He was one of only 2 gospel writers named (the other was Stuart Hamblen) and was included with 21 country music writers, both living and dead at the time. He was included with such greats as Gene Autry, Ernie Tubbs, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, A.P. Carter and Jimmy Rogers just to name a few.

Member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame-1972.

Marquis Who’s Who in America 1976-1977.

Marquis Who’s Who in the World 1978-1979.

Founder of the Annual Albert E. Brumley Sundown to Sunup Sing (now titled: Albert E. Brumley Memorial Gospel Sing), the largest outdoor gospel sing in the nation.

Named as one of Missouri’s 100 best known men.

Gospel Music Association named him one of only 5 persons in the U.S. whose contributions directly affected 20th century gospel music.

“I’ll Fly Away” has received several awards and was inducted into the SESAC Hall of Fame in 1986. It has been recorded over 500 times at time of induction.

“Turn Your Radio On” – received a Citation of Achievement by BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) in 1972.

Brumley songs have been estimated to have been printed 15 million times in sheet music and hymn-and songbooks.

Albert E. Brumley is still one of the most widely recorded gospel music composer in America. He’s been recorded by a variety of artists, from Elvis Presley to Ray Charles, The Supremes and even the Boston Pops. Recent recordings of I’ll Fly Away : Aretha Franklin (Princess Diana Tribute Album), Wynonna and Gary Chapman (Soundtrack for the movie “The Apostle”), Andy Griffith, Loretta Lynn, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, The Oak Ridge Boys and Burl Ives.

Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall Of Fame, 1998.

Brumley songs emulate country settings, ordinary country religion. Simplicity and naturalness was his music motto and philosophy.

Smithsonian Institute made a study of gospel music and researchers called Albert E. Brumley “the greatest white gospel songwriter before WWII”

Original Lyrics:
Old Glory Household Israel will Fly Away

Some glad morning when Diaspora is over,
I’ll fly away.
To a home on Israel’s distant shore,
I’ll fly away.

I’ll fly away, OLD GLORY,
I’ll fly away.
When I fly, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I’ll fly away.

When liberty is lost in Stars and Stripes,
I’ll fly away.
Like a bird flushed, driven by the Hunter,
I’ll fly away.

I’ll fly away, OLD GLORY,
I’ll fly away.
When I fly, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I’ll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then,
I’ll fly away.
To Moriah where YaHWeH’s rule shall begin,
I’ll fly away.

I’ll fly away, OLD GLORY,
I’ll fly away.
When I fly, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I’ll fly away.

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