Charlie Daniels Band Member Tommy Crain Dies

He co-wrote "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," the group's biggest hit.

Tommy Crain, a longtime member of the Charlie Daniels Band who co-wrote “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the group’s biggest hit, died Thursday at his home in Franklin, Tenn. He was 59.

Crain, who played guitar, banjo and the pedal steel, joined the Charlie Daniels Band in 1975 for the start of a 15-year run. He played on more than 20 albums and helped write 60-plus songs for the country rockers, including the Grammy Award-winning “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which appeared on the 1979 album Million Mile Reflections.

The song — which featured a duel between Crain’s guitar and Charlie Daniels’ fiddle — was the band's biggest pop hit, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was featured in the 1980 John Travolta-Debra Winger film Urban Cowboy.

“Tommy Crain will always be a part of the CDB family and his music will always be a part of the CDB sound. We have lost a good friend and the world has lost a unique, creative and precious human being,” Daniels said.

Crain got his start playing in local band around Nashville and was a member of Buckeye when they opened for the Charlie Daniels Band at the first Volunteer Jam at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium in 1974. He left the band in 1990 to spend more time with his family.

Survivors include his parents, John and Helen; his wife, Melissa; his daughter, Ann; his grandson, Hunter; his brother Billy; and his sister Sherry. A memorial service is being planned. Donations can be made to the Nashville Local Chapter of Musicians on Call.