Nashville Hitmaker Peter McCann Dead at 74
Singer-songwriter Peter McCann — who scored a 1977 solo hit with his song "Do You Wanna Make Love," as well as writing a long string of classic songs for other artists — has died. Music Row reports that McCann died on Jan. 26, 2023, at the age of 74.
Born on March 6, 1948, in Bridgeport, Conn., McCann launched his first band, the Repairs, while attending college at Fairfield University. They moved to Los Angeles to pursue a recording career with Motown Records, and after that ended, McCann signed a deal as a staff songwriter with ABC.
That led to his first hit, "Right Time of the Night," which Arista released as Jennifer Warnes' debut solo single in 1977. The song reached No. 6 on the mainstream Billboard Hot 100 chart, No. 17 on the Country chart and No. 1 in Easy Listening, and its success prompted 20th Century Fox Records to sign him to a solo deal, releasing "Do You Wanna Make Love" that same year. McCann's lone solo hit reached No. 5 in the Hot 100 and No. 22 in Adult Contemporary.
He released two solo albums —1977's Peter McCann and One on One in 1979 — before focusing on writing songs for other artists. McCann signed with Sony Music as a songwriter in 1978, and a move to Nashville proved fruitful, as he wrote a string of country hits. Beginning in 1985 with Earl Thomas Conley's "Nobody Falls Like a Fool," his streak continued with Janie Fricke's "She's Single Again," and K.T. Oslin's debut single, 1987's "Wall of Tears," was also a McCann composition.
Country artists who've recorded his song include Lynn Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Lee Greenwood, Michael Johnson, Reba McEntire, Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius, Anne Murray, Nicolette Larson, Eddie Rabbitt, Kenny Rogers, Shelly West and more. A long list of pop artists have also cut his work, including Whitney Houston, who recorded "Take Good Care of My Heart" for her 1985 debut album.
McCann was also a longtime advocate for songwriters' right who joined Nashville Songwriters Association International and lobbied on Capitol Hill for copyright issues for decades, as well as a popular lecturer on college campuses and for musical organizations. He was a board member and, at one time, Vice President of NSAI, which awarded him its President's Choice Award in 1995 for his work on copyright issues.
Music Row reports that McCann died in his sleep at home on Jan. 26. No cause of death has been released. He is survived by Jacalyn Sheridan, his wife of 41 years, and the couple's son, Colin McCann. A celebration of life is to be announced. According to Nashville's Tennessean, his family are suggesting donations to the Salvation Army to honor his memory.