Jopseph Edward Sullivan

Jopseph Sullivan Obituary PhotoJopseph Edward Sullivan, 76, of Branson, MO, formerly of Tullhoma, TN, January 27, 1942 - June 22, 2018.

Joe Sullivan, the legendary entrepreneur who created memories for millions, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, June 22, 2018 with his wife Lindsey by his side.  

Joseph Edward Sullivan was born to Rufus James and Mildred Sullivan on January 27, 1942 in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He began his career in radio broadcasting at the age of 16 as an afternoon DJ/announcer on WMSR, Manchester, TN. His notoriously popular “Jolly Joe Sock Hops” and pizza joint made him a local celebrity. He graduated from Manchester City School in 1960. He was inducted into the 2018 Tennessee Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame this past May. 

Sullivan was hired in 1964 to DJ in Knoxville and was promoted to Program Director a year later. Sullivan quickly took the station to the number one spot in the Knoxville market.

In 1968, Sullivan went to Nashville to program station WMAK. He was made program consultant for all Mooney Broadcasting stations, including Radio Uno in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There he was responsible for catapulting the station to the number one spot in San Juan.

The Gavin Report named Joe "Program Director of the Year" for Smaller Markets in 1972.

In 1970, Joe Sullivan and Roger McDaniel partnered to begin Sound Seventy Productions. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Sound Seventy was a premier promoter of live entertainment in the southeast, producing shows covering all genres.  The Nashville live music scene generated by Joe and some of his peers included the now iconic venues The Exit/In and Muther’s Music Emporium where some of the world’s burgeoning stars passed through including Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop, Joni Mitchell, Alice Cooper and many others. 

Sound Seventy expanded to include artist management with the acquisition of superstar Charlie Daniels as its first client, who was the first act from Nashville to ever sign a rock record deal. Other clients included Bobby Bare, Dickie Betts, Dobie Gray, Nicolette Larsen, Henry Paul, Wet Willie and the legendary Wolfman Jack. 

Sullivan created the popular Volunteer Jam hosted by Charlie Daniels in 1974, the first of what became a Nashville mid-winter tradition.

He sat on the Country Music Association (CMA) Board of Directors serving as an Officer or a Director for 16 years.

Although he never received a college degree, he was considered an expert in his field and taught Concert Productions and Artist Management at Belmont University in Nashville and an MBA level Marketing class at Drury University in Springfield, MO.

In 1990, Sullivan moved to Branson, MO where he continued to produce and promote live entertainment events for the next 24 years, including the Super Sunday Megastar Series and BransonFest. He also managed several theaters.

He served on various community boards and as an Elder at his church. Joe Sullivan retired in 2014.

His wife Lindsey and his children Kim Ward, Joseph (Kate), Savannah and Jade (Angela) Sullivan and Tracy Keller (deceased), grandchildren Barry and Latisha, six great-grandchildren and sister Nancy Wortman (Tom), survive Joe. 

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held Friday, June 29, at 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church, 420 West Main St., Branson. Donations in Joe’s memory can be made to Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road SW, Lilburn, GA 30047 or Care for Kids, c/o Herschend Family Foundation, 7347 West Highway 76, Suite A, Branson, MO 65616

Published on on June 26, 2018.