Born: February 28, 1940; Died: September 5, 2012.
Joe South, who has died aged 72 following a heart attack, was an American singer-songwriter best known for penning hits in the 1960s and early 1970s such as Games People Play and (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden. The rock band Deep Purple also had chart success with his song Hush.
He was born Joseph Souter in Atlanta and began playing guitar when he was 11. After being taken under the wing of a local DJ, Bill Lowery, who became his manager and music publisher, he changed his name to Joe South.
In 1958 he enjoyed some success with The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor, a Chipmunks-like novelty record co-written by The Big Bopper. He followed it up with I'm Snowed, which was also recorded by Ray Stevens. His I Might Have Known and Gone Gone Gone were recorded by Gene Vincent.
As a session musician he later recorded with Bob Dylan on Blonde On Blonde and played the guitar intro to Aretha Franklin's 1968 R&B hit Chain Of Fools.
In 1969 he scored a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic with Games People Play. The production won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
As a writer he scored another massive success in 1971 with Lynn Anderson's 1971 country/pop classic (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden, which was a hit in 16 countries. Meanwhile, his Walk A Mile In My Shoes was covered by Elvis Presley, Bryan Ferry and Coldcut.
The 1971 suicide of South's brother Tommy resulted in him becoming clinically depressed and he turned to drugs. He divorced his first wife, went to live in Hawaii and his run of success ended.
In 1979 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He made fitful attempts to return, including a visit to the UK in the mid-1990s but he eventually settled into life back home in Georgia with his second wife, Jan. They married in 1987.
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