It is my great pleasure to induct into the Starkville High School Hall of the Famous Mr. Dee Barton, a 1955 graduate of SHS. While he was in high school, Mr. Barton was student director of the band. He was voted most musical in his senior class. His classmates were obviously right! To date he has written music for over sixty films, including the scores for Clint Eastwood’s movies Play Misty for Me, Every Which Way But Loose, Thunderbolt, Lightfoot, and High Plains Drifter as well as compositions for the Dirty Harry movies.
After receiving his degree in education and composition from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, Mr. Barton joined the Stan Kenton band as a musician and composer. While he has played trumpet, drums, trombone, and piano in his own and other bands, he is probably best known for his musical compositions Currently there are two CD’s out with his name as composer in the actual title of the CD. One is called the Dallas Jazz Orchestra Plays Dee Barton and the other Stan Kenton Conducts the Jazz Compositions of Dee Barton. Both were nominated for Grammy awards. Another Kenton album, Adventure in Jazz, containing several of Barton’s songs, won a Grammy. He is listed in the Guiness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. He has worked with Frank Sinatra, Maynard Ferguson, Ray Charles, and many, many others.
Although he continues to write music for bands, orchestras, commercials and movies, he prefers life in Mississippi to life in the fast lane in California. He can hop a plane, work for people in Hollywood, and fly back home to Mississippi where he now teaches at Delta State. He has the respect of all those who have worked with him. He is a talented composer, arranger, and conductor, a dedicated educator, and a quiet man who believes that “music is the universal language that unites all people.” I am pleased to present this award to Mr. Dee Barton. Mr. Barton was called to an emergency meeting this morning, so accepting the award for him is his mother Mrs. Mary Chaffee of Starkville.
Nancy Jacobs, Inductor