Posted by themusicsover on September 5, 2012
Joe South (Born Joseph Souter)
February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012
Joe South was an Atlanta-born singer-songwriter who penned some of the most popular songs of his era. South was given his first guitar when he was just 11. A quick learner, he was playing on his local radio station within a year. Gifted electronically as well, South figured out how to build his own tiny radio station so he could broadcast his songs over the local airwaves. He apparently mounted it in his car in order to stay one step ahead of the FCC. In 1958, South scored a minor novelty hit with “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor,” which generally resurfaces on the radio each year around Halloween. By the early ’60s, South was making a name for himself as a songwriter. His songs were either recorded or performed live by the likes of Billy Joe Royal (“Down In The Boondocks”), Gene Vincent (“Gone Gone Gone”), Elvis Presley (“Walk A Mile In My Shoes”), Deep Purple (“Hush”), and Lynn Anderson, who in 1971, scored a huge hit with his “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.” The song and record earned them each a Grammy. In 1968, South released “Games People Play,” a protest song that cracked the Top 15 and earned him two Grammys including Song Of The Year. The tune, which is one of the most iconic of the late ’6os/early ’7os, has been covered by Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton, James Taylor, and Ike & Tina Turner, to name a few. An in-demand session player as well, South can be heard on, among many others, Aretha Franklin’s “Chain Of Fools”, Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds Of Silence,” and throughout Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde album. Joe South was 72 when he died of heart failure on September 5, 2012.
Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.