by Tamela Meredith Partridge
With over 25 years in the music industry and a schedule of more than 250 world-wide dates per year, it is easy to see why Howard and David Bellamy are one of the most active touring duos in the business.
“Performing is not something we got into for the money,” Howard Bellamy said during a phone interview. “We got into it for the love of it. We just enjoy it. It is a lifestyle with us. You learn how to feel at home wherever you are. You have to adapt. That’s how we’ve managed to stay on the road so long.”
Growing up on a 2500-acre family ranch in Darby, Florida, the Bellamy Brothers were surrounded by their father’s love of country music and the harmonies and rhythms of the Jamaican fruit harvesters working in the family orange groves. Combining these childhood musical influences with the contemporary rock n’ roll sounds of Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly, and The Everly Brothers all contributed to the Bellamy Brothers unique signature sound.
“Our ranch has been in our family since 1870,” Howard said. “We worked very hard on the ranch, but dad always set aside time to have fun too. Which is very important to do both. Dad was a musician, not professional, but every weekend we had music in our home. It was a lifestyle for us. We thought everybody was reared like that. Even though dad was a great player he came from an era where I don’t think he even realized that he could make a living as a musician. The ranch is where we picked up most of our music from.”
The Bellamy Brothers first gig was in 1968 playing for free with their father at the Rattlesnake Roundup in San Antonio, Florida. Today, with over 30 albums to their credit, the Bellamy Brothers conduct an Annual Snake, Rattle & Roll benefit concert in conjunction with the San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival, which has attracted more than 20,000 people per year since 1989.
Writing a high percentage of their own songs, The Bellamy Brothers hit the pop charts in ’76 with their debut No. 1 smash, “Let Your Love Flow” and went on to garner ten Billboard No. 1 hits including, “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me,” “Do You Love As Good As You Look,” “Redneck Girl,” and “Too Much Is Not Enough.”
“We have done a couple of outside songs over the years but usually we write most of our material,” Howard said. “And you never know where a song inspiration may come from. It can come from a conversation at a table in a restaurant that you might overhear. It could come from a movie or something you are reading. It can just float out of the air. You just have to keep your antennae up, be very open and receptive to things because you never really have an idea where inspiration may come from.”
The Bellamy Brothers, who look forward to entertaining another generation of listeners, still continue to live, work, and make music on the ranch that houses their families, offices, cattle business, and successful recording studio.
“David and I have always been goal setters,” Howard said. “While keeping our eye on the big picture, we still keep in mind that it takes one step at a time to achieve any goal. From starting our own record label to taking charge of the overseas market, we have never been content with just staying where we are. Those who do just stand still and never move forward. We’re proud of what we’ve done, but we’re more than excited about where we are going.”
The Bellamy Brothers will be appearing at the Little Nashville Opry on Saturday, April 27.