DIARY - 25 APRIL 2007 - GLENN SUTTON OBITUARY
SUTTON RIP @ 69
ROYCE GLENN SUTTON SEPTEMBER 28, 1937 - HODGE, LOUISIANA
DIED APRIL 17, 2007 - NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
SONGS SURVIVE IN TV AND MOVIES
Louisiana born songwriter and producer Glenn Sutton died at 69 this
week but his music will shine on - especially on the silver and
Although Sutton wrote most of his hits more than three decades ago
their longevity is chiselled in celluloid.
Several were resurrected in recent TV shows and movies diverse as
Thelma & Louise and Take This Job & Shove It.
Sutton, renowned for writing big hits with producer Billy Sherrill
for the late Tammy Wynette, died of a heart attack on April 17.
The duo was credited with creating the smooth, piano-heavy Countrypolitan
sound in the 1970s.
was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on September
19, 1999, after writing 27 BMI award winning hits.
1999 inductees were Wayne Kemp and the late Tommy Collins and A.L. "Doodle"
Sutton, Jimmy Dean and Johnny Gimble were also inducted into the Texas
Country Music Hall of Fame on August 20th, 2005.
At the time of his death the long time Nashville resident had 484 songs
registered on the BMI publishing site.
Sutton attempted a recording career, charting three singles on Mercury
Records in the '70s and '80s.
His most successful single, The Football Card, peaked at No 55
"He was one of the funniest human beings in the world," major
producer-musician Jerry Kennedy revealed.
"If you didn't know him, you really missed something."
Shelby Singleton, CEO of Sun Entertainment, knew Sutton since the early
"He was a great songwriter," Singleton said.
"He'd come into the office, and he was just always onstage."
Roger Murrah, music publisher and chairman of Nashville Songwriters Foundation
- the body that runs the Songwriters Hall of Fame - recalled Sutton as
one of the finest writers to hit Nashville.
"He was part of the genius that was Billy Sherrill and Tammy Wynette,"
The Sutton-Sherrill hits for Wynette included Your Good Girl's Gonna
Go Bad, I Don't Wanna Play House, Take Me To Your World, Bedtime Stories,
Kids Say The Darndest Things and the duet on Pair Of Old Sneakers
by Tammy and then husband George Jones.
Wynette collaborated with the duo on her #1 hits Singing My Song and
The Ways to Love a Man.
your good girl's gonna go bad/ I'm gonna be the swinginest swinger you
ever had/ If you like 'em painted up, powdered up/ Then you oughta be
glad 'cos your good girl's gonna go bad." - Your Good Girl's Gonna
Go Bad - Billy Sherrill-Glenn Sutton.
former singing spouse Lynn Anderson (pictured left) and fellow Louisiana
born star Jerry Lee Lewis who topped charts with Sutton songs, outlived
Sutton produced I Never Promised You A Rose Garden for Anderson
to whom he was married from 1968-1977.
They had one child together.
Anderson, now 59, appeared in the movie Country Gold with Lonnie
Anderson and had success on the small screen with roles in Starsky
& Hutch and her own TV show.
"Glenn is still one of my best friends," Anderson told me
in an interview in Nashville on October 12, 1988.
was promoting her new Mercury album What She Does Best.
We did the interview in between others with John Anderson and Kacey Jones
- then lead singer of Ethel & The Shameless Hussies.
Jones, a latter day comedienne and producer of singin Texan crime novelist
Kinky Friedman and creator of the Mickey Newbury tribute disc San Francisco
Mabel Joy, was on the same label as Anderson.
"Glenn was a wonderful writer," said Anderson who was born in
Grand Forks, North Dakota to Casey and Liz Anderson (both songwriters)
and grew up in Sacramento, California with her mother.
"He wrote Almost Persuaded - a huge #1 hit for David Houston.
He also wrote 12 or 13
#1 hits for Tammy Wynette. He used to come home from a writing session
and I'd ask him what he had written. He would sing me songs like I
Wanna Play House and I'd say can I have that one and he would say
'no, that's for Tammy. Glenn is still a fine writer. We would treasure
all those fine times we had together. He produced all of my records on
CBS. He wrote my first CBS release Stay There Until I Get There.
He also wrote You're My Man, What A Man My Man Is and All The
King's Horses. Really for the most part rather than setting himself
as a writer on my behalf he set himself up as the producer. He was on
staff at CBS and his job was to come up with hit songs for Tammy. He'd
been doing that for a long time before he even met me. Tammy and I were
in direct competition. He didn't write nearly as many for me as he did
for Tammy but he sure found me a lot of hits."
One was the Joe South penned 1970 Rose Garden crossover hit that
won Grammys for Anderson and the writer and even leaped the commercial
radio moat in Australia.
Anderson followed it with Sutton songs You're My Man, What A Man My
Man Is, Keep Me In Mind and I'm Gonna Write A Song.
Lynn's mother Liz wrote Merle Haggard's early hits All My Friends Are
Gonna Be Strangers and The Fugitive.
She left Columbia Records in 1980 after her Top 40 hit Even Cowgirls
Get the Blues that same year.
Anderson went into brief retirement to start a new family with second
husband, oil tycoon Harold "Spook" Stream 111.
She had two children with Stream but cited physical abuse when she divorced
night all alone in a barroom/ met a girl with a drink in her hand/ she
had ruby red lips and coal black hair/ and eyes that would tempt any man/
then she came and sat down at my table/ and as she placed her soft hand
in mine/ I found myself wanting to kiss her/ for temptation was flowing
like wine/ and I was almost persuaded/ to strip myself of my pride/ almost
persuaded." - Almost Persuaded - Billy Sherrill - Glenn Sutton.
was educated at Carthage and Brandon High Schools from 1947-1955 before
moving to Nashville from Jackson, Mississippi, on July 20, 1964.
Starday Music published his first songs on January 8 that year and
he signed with Al Gallico Music on June 20.
The former electric shaver repair man and insurance salesman landed
his first BMI Award winning song when the late David Houston scored
with Almost Persuaded in 1966.
Boxcar Willie, Maury Finney, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Merle Haggard, Etta
James, George & Tammy, Henry Mancini, Preacher Jack, Charlie Rich,
Statler Bros and Hank Williams Jr also later recorded it.
Sutton received a BMI million-airs award for 1 million performances of
The song, alternate title Almost Degraded, was a salient signpost
to Sutton's humour.
They included Open Bottle Surgery, Bionic Banjo and Bluegrass
Banjo, Buckle Of The Bible Belt, penned with Carl Jackson, and Cheating
Clothes and Cheating Doors.
Sutton and Sherrill also won BMI Awards when Houston scored #1 hits with
their tunes Have a Little Faith, Already It's Heaven, With One Exception
and You Mean the World to Me.
Houston's Top 10 hits written by Sutton and Sherrill included A Loser's
Cathedral, Where Love Used to Live, My Woman's Good to Me, Living in a
House Full of Love and I'm Down to My Last 'I Love You'.
Glen Campbell and Gary Allan also recorded House Full Of Love,
George Benson cut My Woman's Good To Me and Sara Evans proved prophetic
when she cut Wynette hit I Don't Want To Play House.
Sutton also produced artists Tommy Cash, Jim & Jesse, Bob Luman and
MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS
several songs cut by Jerry Lee but The Killer's oft recorded smash What
Made Milwaukee Famous (Made A Loser Out Of Me) had a bizarre birth.
It was graphically depicted in Philip Self's Guitar Pull: Conversations
with Country Music's Legendary Songwriters.
It was a refreshing reflection of the songwriting spontaneity of the sixties.
Jerry Kennedy was producing a session on Lewis the next day and needed
Sutton had promised that he'd "almost finished" a new one that
he hadn't actually started.
Via telephone, when Sutton was asked the title of the song that didn't
exist in title, melody or structure, he glanced at a newspaper.
"Right before my eyes was a full-page ad with a big beer can on it
and it said, 'Milwaukee's Best. The beer that made Milwaukee famous,'
" Sutton recalled.
"I said, 'It's called "What Made Milwaukee Famous." And
he said, 'That's a great title, kid. I'll tell Jerry.' "
Kennedy soon called Sutton and told him to bring the new song over at
9 a.m. the next day.
"It was three in the afternoon then," Mr. Sutton told his interviewer,
"I said, 'God Almighty! I'll have to really get drunk tonight.' "
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, bluegrass star Del McCoury
and Rod Stewart also earned royalties for Sutton with their versions.
Sutton and Kennedy co-wrote The Killer's 1968 #1 hit To Make Love Sweeter
Sutton was the sole writer of Lewis's 1968 #2 hit She Still Comes Around
(To Love What's Left of Me).
singer Red Steagall also wrote a brace of western songs with Sutton and
performed them on his 1978 Australian tour.
They included Lone Star Beer And Bob Willis Music, Cold Beer Signs
And Country Songs, Little Joe The Wrangler, Till There's Not A Cow In
Texas and Nylons And Neon Signs.
Australian country singer Johnny Chester, a guest at Steagall's shows,
also recorded the Sutton song Willie, Won't You Sing A Song With Me.
Johnny Paycheck recorded Sutton song The Outlaw's Prayer - the
lyrics eluded the singer when I saw him live in Austin in 1983.
David Allan Coe also cut Now I Lay Me Down To Cheat penned by Sutton
and Larry Kingston with whom he wrote Gone To Gilleys.
Sutton penned Fish And Chips and Flying Doctor's BG Cues
with veteran pedal steel ace Lloyd Green.
Ruby Lovett recorded her Sutton co-write Where's The Fire and Barbara
Mandrell cut Tonight My Baby's Coming Home With Me.
Ronnie Dove also scored with the Sutton-Sherrill hit Kiss Away
in 1965 and Texans Hank Thompson and late Johnny Duncan cut Sutton songs
Tony's Tank-Up, Drive-In Cafe in 1980 and Hello Mexico And Adios
Baby To You.
Sutton and the late Merle Kilgore also wrote the Eddy Arnold hit The
He earned healthy royalties from songs recorded by artists diverse as
Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr, Don Gibson, Vicki Carr, George Benson,
the late Johnny Duncan and current stars Gary Allan and Sara Evans.
don't wanna play house, I know it can't be fun/ I've watched mommy and
daddy/ and if that's the way it's done/ I don't wanna play house/ it makes
my mommy cry because when she played house, my daddy said good-bye."
- I Don't Wanna Play House - Billy Sherrill-Glenn Sutton.
enjoyed movie success when his song You Made It Beautiful was
used in the 1981 movie Take This Job & Shove It
featuring David Allan Coe and Lacy J Dalton.
Coe, writer of the title song, played Daltons partner but the waiter's
role of singer Johnny Paycheck, who had the hit with the song, ended
up on the cutting room floor.
Tammy Wynette's version of I Don't Play House graced the
controversial 1991 film Thelma & Louise.
Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad re-emerged in Girl's Night
(1998), Sordid Lives (2000), Hard Cases (2003)
and an episode of The Wire - also in 2003.
Sutton also produced artists Tommy Cash, Jim & Jesse, Bob Luman
Anderson, also an able equestrian, survived both her husbands but it's
Sutton's dry wisdom in Norman Self's Guitar Pull book that will be remembered.
Here are some from Sutton who covered all bases with songs such as Green
Jello and Green Bluegrass.
"If the song ain't no good, you can mix on the son-of-a-bitch for
eight years and it won't be no better"
had a laptop. He kept saying, 'Yeah, I like that line.' And I was saying
to myself, 'I got to finish this up and get the hell out of here so I
don't have to come back. I don't want to have to work on this again with
this guy and watch him with a laptop. He was too busy putting it in his
laptop to even try to put a line in it."
would say, 'You got your book with you?' I said, 'I ain't got no fucking
book. I can remember what the hell I'm going to do. I ain't going to write
every day with three or four different people. I can remember what few
appointments I have. I don't have to have a book"
"They all had a book. They cared more about their book than they
did writing. If their book was full they thought they were doing something,
wether they wrote anything or not. So the book thing drove me nuts."
Sutton's funeral service was held on Friday April 20 in Nashville.
/ back to diary