Although he’s ruled Rocket City as mayor since 2008, Tommy Battle may soon be known as Alabama’s “Music Mayor.” An increasingly visible presence at music events around Huntsville, he believes music is as much a quality of life convenience as it is an economic driver.
Mayor Battle’s music initiative, which began in 2018, provided a note-for-note score for the future. The score included several moves, such as a full music audit and the creation of a music council and music office.
The audit also highlighted the need for a multipurpose outdoor concert hall, which culminated in the construction of the world-class Orion Amphitheater in Apollo Park. The project landed Rocket City on page 46 of Rolling Stone’s September 2022 edition with the headline “Rocket town Huntsville shoots for the stars with new Orion Amphitheater.”
Battle has attended several shows at the new venue and is particularly excited about a visit from Stevie Nicks on Halloween night. It’s no surprise that she takes pride of place among the mayor’s favorite artists and songs along with Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy.”
A first appreciation
The mayor’s love for music dates back to his childhood. If he didn’t have the money to buy records, he would record his favorite songs from the radio using a portable tape recorder.
“One of the first songs I remember hearing and loving was ‘Crimson & Clover’ by Tommy James,” he says. “I listened to it over and over again, as the song says.”
Over the years, he has listened to music in all mediums. Today, he mainly streams music on his iPhone.
“I listen to music when I’m working in the yard, or sometimes I just like to pause and listen for a while,” he says. “It really recharges you for the rest of the day. … I couldn’t imagine a world without music.
Mayor Battle’s Playlist
Check out the playlist of Mayor Battle’s favorite songs below: