Acclaimed Producer Billy Sherrill Dies
Billy Sherill, an acclaimed country music producer and songwriter, has died at 78.
Sherrill, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, passed away at his home on Tuesday morning (Aug. 4), following a short illness. His daughter, Catherine Lale, confirmed the sad news to the Tennessean.
Born on Nov. 5, 1936, in Phil Campbell, Ala., Billy Norris Sherrill was always interested in music, specifically jazz and the blues. He led a blues band during his teenage years and often accompanied his father, an evangelist, on the piano at revivals during his youth.
Sherrill moved to Nashville in 1962 to work as a producer and engineer for Sun Records, then as a producer for Epic Records. He was a pioneer of the "countrypolitan" sound, which was reminiscent of rock producer Phil Spector, and although some criticized the sound, Sherrill became a hugely sought-after producer.
More than three dozen of Tammy Wynette's songs produced by Sherrill (and often written by him, too) made the Top 10; 20 of them, including "Stand By Your Man," hit No. 1. He is also the one responsible for Wynette selecting the stage name Tammy. In addition to his work with Wynette, Sherrill produced numerous hits for George Jones, including "He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “Yesterday’s Wine” and “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes."
Over the course of his career, Sherrill also worked with Charlie Rich, Shelby Lynne, Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, David Allan Coe, Tanya Tucker and many more on everything from songwriting to producing. By the early 1990s, Sherrill was virtually retired, but he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008 and, two years later, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Sherrill is survived by Charlene, his wife of 54 years; his daughter and her husband George; and two grandchildren, Samantha and Matthew. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
The Boot extends our deepest condolences to Sherrill's loved ones.
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