Country Songwriter Earl Cranston Clark Dead at 70
After a prolific career as a Nashville songwriter, Earl Cranston Clark has died. He was 70 years old when he passed away on Friday (July 7).
Best known for writing songs for artists such as George Strait ("One Step at a Time") and Tanya Tucker ("I Can Do That"), among others, Clark -- known as Earl Clark professionally -- had more than 80 of his tracks published as part of a deal with Nashville’s BMI Publishing. Clark earned one of his first major writing credits on Tim McGraw’s self-titled 1993 debut album, with the song "What She Left Behind," and found success with “Can’t Break it to My Heart” and “Renegades, Rebels, and Rogues,” both recorded by Tracy Lawrence. The former became a No. 1 hit, while the latter was a Top 10 (No. 7) song.
Born on Nov. 24, 1946, in Dillon, S.C., to parents Joseph and Anna Mae Clark, according to his obituary, Clark was a member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe, and is one of the country music genre’s most prolific Native American songwriters. Clark's obituary reports that one of his first breaks in the country music business came when he worked as a tour bus driver for legends such as Ernest Tubb, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
Clark is survived by two siblings -- his brother Joe "Fred" (and his wife Sue) and his sister Audrey (and her husband Jim) -- along with “two young women he helped raise from a young age,” named Niki Corbert and Quicha Bryson. His survivors also include his ex-wife and best friend, Linda, and a number of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends; above, readers can see video of Clark performing with his nephew Dustin.
Clark's visitation and funeral services are scheduled for Friday (July 14), at the Chapel Hill Mortuary in Cedar Hill, Tenn.; he was living in Smyrna, Tenn., at the time of his death. The visitation will begin at 11AM, and the funeral will begin at 2PM.
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