Songwriter, Musician Bobby Emmons Dies
Bobby Emmons, a musician, songwriter and member of Memphis studio band the Memphis Boys, has died. He was 72 years old.
Emmons passed away Monday night (Feb. 23) at a hospital in Nashville due to an undisclosed illness, according to The Commercial Appeal.
A self-taught keyboardist and organ player, Emmons was born in Corinth, Miss., on Feb. 19, 1943. In 1959, he became a professional songwriter and musician; from 1960 through 1963, he played keyboard in Bill Black's Combo, touring through 47 states, Canada, Nassau and Jamaica.
As a member of the Memphis Boys, the studio band at Memphis, Tenn.'s American Studios, Emmons made history by playing on more hit records in a six-month period than any other studio musician group. Notably, their 122 total hits spanned four different genres: country, jazz, R&B and pop. Emmons also played on sessions at Hi Studios, Sun Studios, Phillips International, Sounds of Memphis, Stax, Ardent and Elvis Presley’s Jungle Room.
“First of all, he was a dear friend of mine for 56 years. We were very close," Emmons' friend Reggie Young remembers. "He had success forever, wherever he went ... He was an amazing musician, but I can’t stress how decent a person he was as well. That came through in everything he did.”
Emmons moved to Nashville in the early 1970s, contributing as a session player for many country greats. His noted works include numerous Willie Nelson albums -- Always on My Mind, City of New Orleans, Take It to the Limit, WWII with Waylon Jennings and Pancho and Lefty with Merle Haggard -- the first two Highwaymen records and discs from superstars like Garth Brooks, Natalie Merchant, Townes Van Zandt and Roy Orbison.
The late artist carries writing credits on so many hit songs as well, including but not limited to B.J. Thomas' "Help Me Make It to My Rockin' Chair;" Jennings' "Luckenbach, Texas," "Women Do Know How to Carry On" and "Wurlitzer Prize;" George Strait's "So Much Like My Dad" and many more.
Throughout his successful career, Emmons received two nominations for Song of the Year and was nominated for three Grammys. He was awarded three Millionaire Awards and six Citations of Achievement from BMI, and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame through his work with the Memphis Boys.
Memorial service plans are pending. The Boot sends our condolences to Emmons' family and other loved ones.
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