Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 12 May '42, Cape Giradeau MO) Country-rock singer, songwriter, studio musician, producer. Moved to Memphis '60, recorded under the guidance of Bill Black as a member of Milt Mirley and the Rhythm Steppers; one of the songs was Swan's 'Lover Please', later covered by Clyde McPhatter for a big hit '62: using the money from that he moved to Nashville '63 intending to write more but had no luck, working odd jobs around studios and publishing houses. Friendship with Tony Joe White led to prod. his records incl. million-selling 'Polk Salad Annie' '69. Worked in studio and band with Kris Kristofferson, appearing at Isle of White Festival '70; contract with Monument led to 'I Can Help' '74: his own song, simple production with Swan's swirling organ, neo-rockabilly style with irresistible melody was one of the biggest hits ever made in Nashville, no. 1 pop and country USA and charting in 18 countries. Spasmodic chart success followed with 'Don't Be Cruel' (in UK) and 'I'm Her Fool' '75, 'Just Want To Taste Your Wine' '76, 'Hello, Remember Me' '78; he remained a long-time member of Kristofferson's band and teamed with Randy Meisner, Jimmy Griffin and Robb Royer to form country-rock band Black Tie '86. Healthy album sales as he moved through Columbia '76--7, A&M '78--80, Epic '81--2; albums incl. I Can Help '74, Rock'n'Roll Moon '75, At His Best '76 on Monument; I'm Into Lovin' You '81 on Epic; with Black Tie When The Night Falls '86 on Bench.