Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Joe South, 1940-2012

Multiple grammy winner Joe South passed away September 5th in Buford, Georgia after a heart attack. South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and became a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1981.
     South was born Joseph Souter on February 28th, 1940, in Atlanta. He began playing guitar at 11, and was just 17 when he joined Nashville producer Pete Drake's band in 1957. South became a studio musician, playing with Bob Dylan on his classic 1966 album Blonde on Blonde, on Aretha Franklin's 1967 single release Chain of Fools, and with Simon and Garfunkel.
     He won two Grammys following his 1969 hit recording of his own Games People Playsong of the year and best contemporary song and a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic; he also wrote Down in the Boondocks, a hit for Billy Joe Royal.
     Deep Purple recorded his Hush, and even the Osmonds scored a hit off his composition, Yo-Yo.
     Walk a Mile In My Shoes was another of South's own hit records, also covered by Elvis Presley in his live 1970 album.
     South's single, Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home, reached #41 in the Pop charts & #27 in the Country charts.
     South took several years off after the suicide of his brother Tommy. He made a brief return in 1975 with a new album, Midnight Rainbows, but walked away from the industry soon afterwards. Drug abuse hampered his career, and South's first marriage ended in divorce. He eventually went to rehab before marrying for a second time in 1987.
     South's most successful song was "Rose Garden." When the head of Columbia Records, Clive Davis, heard Lynn Anderson's cover, he insisted that it be her next single, which became a smash in the USA and 15 other countries; the Rose Garden album remained the biggest selling by a female country artist for 27 years. The seldom-heard "quad mix" of Rose Garden is at the bottom of AKSARBENT's Clive Davis post, here.
     South's funeral was held in Atlanta, Georgia.

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