Larry Kingston won BMI songwriting awards for his big hits Pittsburgh Stealers, Thank God And Greyhound (She's Gone), Biloxi and Lovin' Machine.

But when the singer-songwriter died in a Nashville hospital on Sunday February 20 after a heart attack he was also renowned for stone honky tonkers penned with peers such as Frank Dycus and Glenn Sutton.

Kingston moved to Nashville in 1965 to write but also recorded under his own name.

He even charted twice with the same song - Good Morning Lovin'.

It dented the charts for JMI Records in 1974 and Warner Bros in 1975.

Kingston had 318 songs published on the BMI site at the time of death - companies he wrote for included Window Music, Lawrence Welk Music, Velvet Apple and Empher that he sold to Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton.

The Kendalls

His best-known song in Australia was Pittsburgh Stealers - the U.S. hit also scored airplay here for The Kendalls when some commercial radio stations played country.

Kingston's song, It's Not Over If I'm Not Over You, also won sporadic airplay here for Reba McEntire.

Kenny Price's version of Biloxi, Roy Clark's cut of Thank God And Greyhound and Johnny Paycheck's rendition of Lovin' Machine had less exposure here.

Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Vern Gosdin, David Allan Coe, Don Williams, Mark Chesnutt, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ringo Starr also earned royalties for Kingston by cutting his songs.

George Jones and Tammy Wynette scored community radio exposure here for their revamp of the Kingston-Sutton song Pair Of Old Sneakers from one of their duets discs.

And Jones also won airplay on Nu Country and PBS and RRR show, High In The Saddle for his gospel cut of Mama's Family Bible from his 1979 disc Hallelujah Weekend.


"She was a waitress in a West Texas dance hall/ I was a cowboy with a throat full of sand." - Bright Morning Light.

David Allan Coe & Willie Nelson
Former convict and singing actor David Allan Coe has probably earned Kingston his most exposure on Melbourne radio.

Coe cut Kingston's classic tune Bossier City but not his tune Now I Lay Me Down To Cheat - it was a Walt Aldridge-Billy Henderson song of the same name.

But both may have been dwarfed by Coe's cut of Bright Morning Light - originally released only as a single.

Coe, now 65, gave me a copy of the single - his latest - when I met him in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1978.

"It's one of the best cowboy songs I've ever recorded," Coe told me, "and I didn't write it.

It was a good old boy named Larry Kingston. You should try to interview him and Frank Dycus."

Sadly the single withered on the vine of American radio and wasn't available on an album until the nineties when it surfaced on Bear Family double disc Invictus Means Unconquered/Tennessee Whiskey.

The narrative tells of a cowboy who meets a waitress in a bar and plans a one night stand.

"I said to myself 'she's cheap and she's easy/ but she don't look half bad, I'll stay for the night/ but I'll leave when it's early cause l've got this feeling/ she won't look so good in the bright morning light."

And the punch line - the waitress is still with the cowboy five years down the lost highway.


Kingston wrote a brace of songs with Frank Dycus - best known for his covers by George Strait and collaborations with Dean Dillon.

Larry met Frank at Window publishing in 1970 and they set up Empher Music with Roger Fox.

They sent out Emphermation Sheets to the deejays about their cuts and hits, one of which was Wynn Stewart's first RCA hit, Paint Me a Rainbow, in 1972.

That year, they sold the company to Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.

Kingston and Dycus wrote the Porter-Dolly duet Forty Miles From Poplar Bluff and Voice of An Angel for Dolly.

Kingston-Dycus co-writes included Fastest Growing Broken Heart, Dolly Pardon Me, I'm Not Your Hero Anymore, Nobody's Married on Friday Night, Toy Telephone, World Of Betty Jo, Mama's Hands, Lilacs And Fire, I Wish That I Had Been Born Rich, He Can't Fill My Shoes, Green Mountain, Daddy Lived in Houston, Blanket Of Love and Back In The Booth In The Back.


"Well Billy Wayne was found this morning passed out in his car/ In the back seat was a woman that he'd picked up in a bar/ When his mother heard her only words were this must be a dream/ Billy wasn't Billy couldn't he's just seventeen/ push the panic button call the doctor call the preacher/ blame this generation blame the high school teacher." - Push The Panic Button - Larry Kingston-Frank Dycus.

Push The Panic Button was a highlight of Stonewall Jackson's 1971 album Me And You And A Dog Named Boo.

Larry wrote the wry title track of Kenny Price's 1971 album Charlotte Fever while at Window.

Kingston-Sutton co-writes included Pair Of Old Sneakers, Gone To Gilleys and Beer Drinkin Music.

Larry also joined with Harlan Sanders for Some Times The Blues Are Blonde and Honky Tonk Honeymoon.

But it was Ed Nix who was co-writer of Thank God And Greyhound (She's Gone) and Texan Johnny Bush on Tennessee To Texas.

Co-writer on Late Night Red Light Fantasy and It's Not Over If I'm Not Over You was Mark Wright.

Wright is now an MCA-Nashville executive and producer whose first big success was
co-producing Clint Black's Killin' Time - the 1989 record that spawned five #1 hits.

Wright has 26 million units in sales and over 40 #1 singles that he's written, published or produced for artists diverse as Mark Chesnutt, George Strait, Vern Gosdin, Gary Allan, Rhett Akins, Lee Ann Womack, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood.

Kingston also earned songs on Ringo Starr's 1970 Nashville album Beaucoups Of Blues, produced by another Kingston co-writer Pete Drake.


Kingston is survived by his wife, Carolyn and two sons, Todd and Clay and four grandchildren, Tabitha, Ashley, Collin and Curtis.

A memorial service for family and friends was held on February 26 at 11 a. m. at the Hampton Inn in Springfield.

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