Though he’s been Rocket City’s mayor since 2008, Tommy Battle may soon be known as Alabama’s “music mayor.” Increasingly present at music events in the Huntsville area, he believes music is both a quality of life amenity and an economic engine.
Mayor Battle’s music initiative, launched in 2018, provided a note-for-note score for the future. The score included several moves, such as a comprehensive music examination and the creation of a music committee and music bureau.
The audit also outlined the need for a multi-purpose outdoor concert hall, culminating in the construction of the world-class Orion Amphitheater at Apollo Park. The project featured Rocket City on page 46 of Rolling Stone’s September 2022 issue with the headline “Rocket Town Huntsville Shoots for the Stars with New Orion Amphitheater.”
Battle has enjoyed several shows at the new venue and is particularly pleased to have Stevie Nicks visit on Halloween night. It’s no surprise that Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” earned her a permanent place among the mayor’s favorite artists and songs.
An early appreciation
The mayor’s love of music dates back to his childhood. When he didn’t have money to buy vinyl records, he recorded his favorite songs from the radio on a portable tape recorder.
“One of the first songs I remember was Tommy James’ ‘Crimson & Clover,'” he says. “I would listen to it again and again, just like 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 outside gardening, or sometimes I just take a break and listen for a while,” he says. “It really charges you up for the rest of the day. … I couldn’t imagine a world without music.”
Mayor Battle playlist
Check out the playlist of favorite Mayor Battle songs below: