Songwriter Larry Henley Dies
Larry Henley, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and writer of hits for Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker and Tammy Wynette, among others, passed away Dec. 18 at the age of 77. Henley was suffering from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
Born on June 30, 1937, the Odessa, Texas, native got his start in the music business as an artist, first solo on Hickory Records, then with Marc and Dean Mathis as the Newbeats. The trio earned success with a string of singles -- most famous is their song 'Bread and Butter,' which hit No. 2 in 1964 -- and toured with acts like the Kinks, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison and the Rolling Stones, among others.
The Newbeats parted ways in the mid-1970s, but even before that, Henley was finding his calling as a songwriter. 'The World Needs a Melody,' sung by Johnny Cash & the Carter Family, and subsequently recorded by, among others, George Jones and Wynette, was his first single to chart, in 1972. The following year, Wynette took Henley's ''Til I Get It Right' to No. 1; in 1975, Tucker hit the top of the charts with his 'Lizzie and the Rainman.'
Henley continued writing successful songs throughout the '70s and 1980s, but his biggest hit is, without a doubt, 'Wind Beneath My Wings,' which he co-wrote with Jeff Silbar in 1982. Many artists have recorded the tune -- Gary Morris' rendition even won a CMA Award and an ACM Award, both for Song of the Year -- but it's Bette Midler's version, from the 'Beaches' soundtrack, that's perhaps the most famous. Released in 1989, the song went to No. 1, was certified platinum and won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Henley was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.
A spokesperson for Henley's family says that funeral arrangements have not yet been announced, but he will be buried in Texas, and a celebration of his life will take place early next year in Nashville, according to CMT. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Nashville's Alive Hospice.
The Boot extends our condolences to Henley's loved ones.
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