b. Versle Eugene Allison, 29th August 1934, Pegram, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 28th February 2004, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Born in Pegram, Tennessee, when Gene Allison was 7, he relocated from Pegram to Nashville.
He grew up singing in church and began working with professional quartets including The Fairfield Four and the Skylarks.
He was still in high school when Fairfield Four leader Sam McCrary used him as a session singer.
Recorded at Owen Bradley's studio on 16th Avenue in Nashville, and released in 1957, 'You Can Make It If You Try', was a top 5 hit on Billboard magazine's R & B chart, and it also crossed over onto Billboard's list of top 40 pop songs.
In 1958 Mr. Allison used the proceeds from the song to lease a restaurant at the corner of 17th and Charlotte avenues.
Gene's mother took charge of the 24-hour soul food establishment, which stayed in business for about a decade.
He had some success with two other singles, namely 'Have Faith' and 'Everything Will Be All Right'.
Both songs charted in the R & B Top 20.
Gene's success faded in the 1960's, however, he recorded for several independent labels.
A shy man, he rarely gave interviews, however, he had considered returning to the recording studio when died at the age of 69.
Gene died on the 28th of February 2004 at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Gene suffered liver and kidney failure.
'You Can Make It If You Try' was covered by The Rolling Stones' in 1964.
Gene Allison (Vee-Jay 1959)
You Can Make It If You Try (Black Magic 2002)