Though he’s led the 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 amenity as an economic driver.
Mayor Battle’s Music Initiative, which kicked off in 2018, provided a note-for-note score for the future. The score included several movements, such as a comprehensive music audit and the creation of a Music Board and Music Office.
The audit also outlined the need for a multipurpose outdoor concert venue, which culminated with the construction of the world-class Orion Amphitheater at Apollo Park. The project landed the Rocket City on page 46 of the September 2022 edition of Rolling Stone with the headline, “Rocket town Huntsville shoots for the stars with the new Orion Amphitheater.”
Battle has enjoyed several shows at the new venue and is particularly excited about Stevie Nicks’ visit on Halloween night. It’s no surprise she holds a firm spot among the Mayor’s favorite artists and songs with “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac.
An early appreciation
The Mayor’s love of music dates to his childhood. If he didn’t have the money to buy records, he’d record his favorite songs off the radio using a portable tape recorder.
“One of my first songs I remember hearing and loving was ‘Crimson & Clover’ by Tommy James,” he says. “I’d listen to it over and over, just like the song says.”
Through the years, he’s listened to music across all mediums. Today, he mostly streams tunes on his iPhone.
“I listen to music when I’m out in the yard working, or sometimes I like to just take a break and listen 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 Mayor Battle’s playlist of favorite songs below: