A Band of Killers & Convicts: The Prisonaires

Fraulein Motte
10 min readFeb 23, 2024

In 1953, a quintet of inmates from the Tennessee State Penitentiary gained fame with their hit song “Just Walkin’ in the Rain.” They rose to prominence as some of Tennessee’s most renowned prisoners, often showcasing their musical talents at Governor Frank Clement’s mansion.

The Prisonaires, 1953 | Robert W. Kelley The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

The band, led by Johnny Bragg, included John Drue, Marcell Sanders, William Stewart, and Ed Thurman.

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Fraulein Motte

I'm an independent journalist and writer based in Tennessee, USA. I specialize in covering true crime and other related topics.