Kicking off Georgia Gamma’s Founders Day Weekend, undergraduates and alumni conducted a special initiation ceremony for Alan Walden who had been a Georgia Gamma Phikeia nearly 50 years ago. For many years, Alan and his older brother Phil (Mercer ’59) have been among the most influential names in American music, managing up-and-coming artists Otis Redding, Percy Sledge and Al Green, breaking racial barriers and helping the agency to become one of the largest black artist management companies in the South.
In 1965, Redding, Walden, and his brother created Redwal Music, a publishing company to house such songs as “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and “Soul Man.” All three of these songs went on to win awards for the number one Rhythm and Blues Single of the Year in Billboard, Cashbox and Recod World.
Following Redding’s death, the Walden brothers went on to found Capricorn Records in Macon, the label that helped create the Southern Rock genre and The Allman Brothers Band. During this time, many top name groups gained valuable exposure playing for various Georgia Gamma functions. Before he could become initiated, Alan left school to manage the family business while his brother served in the military.
“I’m more excited about this [initiation] than when I walked into Universal Records for the first time,” he said just before the ceremony began. Georgia Gamma traditionally holds Founders Day during Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Coincidentally, Alan is the 2014 Parade Grand Marshal.