Country Music Legend ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement Dies at 82

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The Hall of Fame producer, songwriter and artist worked with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones and many others.

Nashville legend “Cowboy” Jack Clement, a multifaceted producer, songwriter and artist who was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, died Thursday of liver cancer. He was 82.

According to the Tennessean newspaper, Clement had been suffering from liver cancer and was at his Nashville home at the time of his death.

Clement was a Memphis native and came into his own while working at Sun Records, where he produced and engineered early works by Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. He famously recorded Jerry Lee Lewis’ landmark hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” while Sun boss Sam Phillips was out of town.

In 1959, after being fired by Sun Records, Clement moved to Nashville for a short stint at RCA Records, before moving to Beaumont, Texas, where he worked with George Jones and produced Cash’s hit “Ring of Fire.”

A return to Nashville in 1965 led to other creative partnerships with Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings and Bobby Bare. Over the years, the Whitehaven, Tenn., native also worked with Garth Brooks, Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson and countless others. In 1987, he produced the songs “Angel of Harlem” and “When Love Comes to Town” on U2’s Rattle and Hum.

He is the only person ever to produce recordings by members of the Rock and Roll, Country, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Polka halls of fame.

A 2005 documentary on Clement called Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan was comprised of his own home movies. Recently, Clement has hosted a weekly show on Sirius XM, and in April it was announced he'd be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Oct. 27 with Bare and Kenny Rogers.

 

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