Famed coun­try mu­sic pro­ducer Billy Sher­rill passes away aged 78

The China Post - - ARTS -

Coun­try record pro­ducer and song­writer Billy Sher­rill, who helped cre­ate the smooth “coun­try­poli­tan” sound of the 1960s and 1970s, has died. He was 78.

Sher­rill’s son-in-law, Ge­orge Lale, said he died Tues­day in Nashville, Ten­nessee.

Sher­rill’s pro­duc­tion style in­cor­po­rated over-dub­bing, strings and back­ground vo­cals into coun­try mu­sic to en­cour­age cross­over suc­cess for artists like Tammy Wynette, Ge­orge Jones and Char­lie Rich. He pro­duced hits such as “Stand By Your Man,” which he co-wrote with Wynette, “The Most Beau­ti­ful Girl,” “Be­hind Closed Doors,” and “He Stopped Lov­ing Her To­day.”

Born in Phil Camp­bell, Alabama, the son of an evan­gel­i­cal preacher, Sher­rill played pi­ano and sang start­ing in his child- hood. He worked at Sun Records in Sam Philips’ Nashville stu­dio, and then joined the CBS record la­bel in 1964. He won a Grammy Award for co- writ­ing “Al­most Per­suaded,” in 1966, which was a No. 1 hit for artist David Hous­ton.

He was in­stru­men­tal in sign­ing Wynette, Bar­bara Man­drell and Janie Fricke to record deals. He also worked with Ron­nie Mil­sap, Johnny Pay­check, Elvis Costello and Ray Charles.

“Billy Sher­rill was the first pro­ducer to give me a push to start my own records, as he and CBS Pres­i­dent Bruce Lund­vall talked me into sign­ing that first con­tract,” Fricke said in a state­ment. “I was a busy backup singer and was not sure about go­ing solo. I will hold dear those pre­cious mem­o­ries of mag­i­cal stu­dio pro­duc­tions with Billy, and will miss him greatly.”

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