Home / Music News / Singer-Songwriter Joe South Dead at 72


Joe South, the singer–songwriter who wrote Lynn Anderson’s crossover smash “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” and had a number of solo hits himself, including “Games People Play,” “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” and “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home,” died Wednesday at his home in Flowery Branch, Georgia, according to TheBoot.com.  South was 72.  Judy Thompson, a longtime friend, told The New York Times the cause of death was apparently a heart attack.

“Games People Play” earned the singer-songwriter Grammy Awards in 1970 for best contemporary song and song of the year.

“(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” was also recorded by Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell and most recently Martina McBride on her Timeless album.

Joe South was born Joe Souter in Atlanta in 1940. In 1958, he recorded his first single, “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor.”  South worked as a studio guitarist  in Nashville and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with a number of artists, including Eddy Arnold and Marty Robbins.

South penned a number of other hits, including “Down in the Boondocks,” “I Knew You When” and “Hush.”

He went into semi-retirement after his brother’s death in 1971, but briefly returned a few years later with another album. In 2009, he released a new song for the first time in decades entitled, “Oprah Cried.”

South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979, and entered the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1981. He is survived by a son and a granddaughter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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