Although his songs were covered by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley, country-soul pioneer Arthur Alexander remains largely unknown to the general listening audience -- nevertheless, his music is the stuff of genius, a poignant and deeply intimate body of work on par with the best of his contemporaries. Born May 10, 1940, in Florence, AL, Alexander was the son of a bottleneck blues guitarist who performed each Saturday night in the blues joints scattered throughout the region. Rooted as much in white country music as black R&B, Alexander was still in the sixth grade when he joined a gospel group dubbed the Heartstrings. After high school, he worked as a hotel bellhop, befriending Tom Stafford, an R&B-obsessed white kid who fancied himself a lyricist -- Alexander began adding melodies to his words, and through Stafford was introduced to a likeminded crowd of fledgling musicians including future legends Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Billy Sherrill, and Rick Hall. In 1958 Alexander partnered with Henry Lee Bennett to write "She Wanna Rock," which Stafford then sold to Decca Records; country singer Arnie Derksen recorded the song a year later, and in 1960 Alexander made his solo debut for Judd Records with the gritty blues number "Sally Sue Brown," written and produced with Stafford and credited to June (short for "Junior") Alexander.