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Joyce Bush


In 1951, Joyce was working at WSM with Jack Stapp who was program director at radio as well as the Grand Ole Opry. According to Buddy Killen, Joyce was "very bright, just a kid, and very dedicated to her job as executive secretary and assistant to Jack Stapp". Jack eventually left WSM for WKDA-Joyce continued working with him.
During that period, Lou Cowan, a media executive approached Jack Stapp with an offer to back him in a music publishing venture. The company opened and was named Tree.

In 1954, Jack Stapp hired Buddy Killen. In 1957, Lou Cowan sold out Tree to Jack Stapp, and the sale was noted by the company's secretary, Joyce Bush.

After Jack became the sole owner, he gave Buddy Killen 30% of the company and gave 10% to Joyce Bush, according to the book "Fifty Years of Inspiration". Joyce became an important face in the early history of Tree. She was a strong, able administrator who always had gentle words for the hard-working competitive songwriters.

Joyce Bush worked with writers such as: Roger Miller, who was writing for Tree in the mid 1960's. Buddy Killen had signed Roger Miller to Smash records in 1957. Jerry Kennedy produced all of Roger's hit records on that label. Joyce also worked with writers Bobby Braddock, Don Wayne, Bill Anderson, Sunny Throckmorton, Curly Putnam, Rafe Van Hoy, Bucky Jones, Justin Tubb, Donnie Young (Johnny Paycheck), Ed Bruce, and Red Lane. During that period, they worked with Joe Tex who was on Dial Records.

Joyce Bush's presence was so critical to the company that after she became ill, Buddy and Jack brought into the company, Joyce's handpicked successor, Donna Hilley, who was working at the time with Bill Hudson Advertising Agency.

Joyce Bush died in 1974 after a long struggle with cancer. It was a heartbreaking moment in the history of Tree Publishing Company.

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