Eddie Setser, ‘Seven Spanish Angels’ Songwriter, Dead at 77
Setser's name can be found in the credits of more than 100 songs, including cuts by Aretha Franklin, Reba McEntire and Eric Clapton. Perhaps his most famous song is "Seven Spanish Angels," which he wrote with friend and mentor Troy Seals. Ray Charles and Willie Nelson recorded the track and took it to No. 1.
Born Edward Setser to parents Ed and Anna during World War II, Setser lived in Corbin until he was 10, at which time his family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. He began learning to play guitar soon after, he told the Times-Tribune in 2016, playing at dance clubs with a number of different bands in his late teens.
Cincinnati was where Setser met Seals, who was the one to convince Setser to move to Nashville during a low point in Setser's life. At first, Setser was against the idea, but when Seals made him a deal -- "Why don’t you just do this: You come down to Nashville about three weeks, and if you don’t like it, I’ll never bother you again," Setser recalls Seals telling him -- he tried it out, and stayed.
"The people were amazing. Everybody wanted to see everybody make it. Nobody was trying to play games with everybody. It was open," Setser recalls. "Everybody was just incredibly friendly, and I just felt comfortable and I just … started getting my chops back."
In 1980, Setser had a religious experience he calls "one of the most important things that happened in [his] whole life," after which his music career began taking off again. He remained a man of faith until his death, and the Times-Tribune spoke to many people who knew him in Corbin through church.
Lisa Harrison, who attended church with Setser, says she told him when she last saw him that he had been songwriting to help deal with the death of his mother, whom he had moved back to Corbin to care for. "He [said he] could hear the different parts and instruments in his head," she recalls. "He said that he would like to get in touch with one of the publishing companies when he got them completed."
Setser's funeral arrangements are not yet available.
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