Joe Allison

Country-music songwriter, deejay, producer, publisher

Country-music stalwart Joe Allison died Aug. 2 in Nashville after battling lung disease. He was 77.

He was a successful songwriter, deejay, recording exec, producer and publisher.

Songs he wrote or co-wrote, often with first wife Audrey, include Tex Ritter hit “When You Leave, Don’t Slam the Door” in 1946, Jim Reeves’ 1960 hit “He’ll Have to Go,” and its answer, singer Jeanne Black hit “He’ll Have to Stay,” which won Allison a BMI Award.

Other artists who recorded his songs included Nat King Cole, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Ry Cooder, Bing Crosby, Tom Jones and Eddy Arnold. He also worked with Willie Nelson.

McKinney, Texas, native served in the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II, performed with Ritter, then moved to Nashville in 1949 to be a DJ at WMAK, followed by stints at WSM and WSIX, where he attracted such stars as the Everly Brothers, Anita Kerr, Chet Atkins and Brenda Lee. In 1952, he succeeding Tennessee Ernie Ford on L.A.’s KXLA. He also was on L.A.’s KTTV “Town Hall Party” and ABC’s “Country America.”

Co-founder of the Country Music Disc Jockey Assn., later the Country Music Assn., he moved back to Nashville in 1970 to be head of Paramount Records country music, working with Joe Stampley and Tommy Overstreet as well as producing Ritter’s last album, “Tex Ritter: An American Legend.”

Later he bought and sold antiques and paintings and retired in 1988 after a heart attack.

He is survived by wife, Rita, four sons and a brother.

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