Pete Drake (1932-1988)
Roddis Franklin "Pete" Drake was a record producer, record company founder,
Drake was born in Augusta on October 8, 1932, the son of a Pentecostal preacher. His brothers, Jack and Bill, performed as the Drake Brothers. Jack was a bass player for Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubb's band, the Texas Troubadours, for twenty-four years.
At age eighteen Drake drove to Nashville, Tennessee, heard steel guitarist Jerry Byrd on the Grand Ole Opry, and was inspired to buy a steel guitar in an Atlanta pawnshop. He organized a band, Sons of the South, in Atlanta in the 1950s; it included future country stars Jerry Reed, Doug Kershaw, Roger Miller, Jack Greene, and Joe South.
In 1959 Drake moved to Nashville at the suggestion of Kathleen Jackson,
Drake had a productive association with folk singers Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. He played on Dylan's three historic Nashville-recorded albums, including Nashville Skyline, and on Baez's David's Album.
After Drake met George Harrison of the Beatles at Bob Dylan's New York home, Harrison invited him to England to work on All Things Must Pass. In turn, Harrison persuaded fellow Beatle Ringo Starr to come to Nashville to produce his Beaucoups of Blues album with Drake in 1970. This marked the first time a member of the Beatles had recorded in the United States.
Drake produced albums for many other music stars, including B. J. Thomas, the Four Freshmen, and Leon Russell. He founded Stop Records and First Generation Records. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame's Walkway of Stars in 1970 and the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1987. He died in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 29, 1988.