×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement Dead at 82

Sun Records Vet Produced for Charley Pride, U2, Million Dollar Quartet, George Jones

“Cowboy” Jack Clement, the producer, engineer, songwriter and singer whose career with Sun Records and RCA saw him man the mixing boards for a plethora of canonical rock and roll and country recordings, died Aug. 8 in his home in Nashville as a result of liver cancer. He was 82.

Though best known for his production work in Memphis and later Nashville, the lovably eccentric Clement also wrote hits for Johnny Cash (“Ballad of a Teenage Queen,” “Guess Things Happen That Way”), produced several tracks on U2’s “Rattle and Hum,” played ukulele in Hawaiian music groups, and produced the 1970s horror film “Dear Dead Delilah” over the course of a long and varied career.

Born in Whitehaven, Tenn., Clement spent time in the Marines and played in bluegrass groups before landing a job at Sam PhillipsSun Records at age 25. At Sun, he recorded tracks for Roy Orbison, Cash and Carl Perkins, and famously took the initiative to record “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by the then-unknown Jerry Lee Lewis while Phillips was away in Florida. Serendipitously, he also served as informal producer for the legendary “Million Dollar Quartet” sessions featuring Cash, Perkins, Lewis and Elvis Presley.

Fired by Phillips in 1959, Clement joined RCA Victor in Nashville, but soon decamped for Beaumont, Texas, where he and Bill Hall constructed the Gold Coast Recording Studio and founded the Hall-Clement music publishing concern. Clement produced the No. 1 country hit “She Thinks I Still Care” and wrote “Just Somebody I Used to Know” for George Jones in 1962, as well as producing Cash’s 1963 hit “Ring of Fire.”

After returning to Nashville permanently in 1965, Clement convinced Chet Atkins to sign former Negro League pitcher Charley Pride to a contract with RCA – over the course of 13 Clement-produced records, Pride became country music’s first black superstar. In 1975, Clement produced Waylon Jennings’ country No. 1 “Dreaming My Dreams,” an album that would become a vital touchstone for the burgeoning outlaw country movement. He also produced Townes Van Zandt’s “The Late Great Townes Van Zandt” in 1972, as well as projects for Louis Armstrong, Emmylou Harris and polka king Frank Yankovic.

In 1987, U2 approached Clement to record the tracks “When Love Comes to Town” and “Angel of Harlem” in Sun Studio, which Clement agreed to do despite not having heard of the group.

A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Clement was set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year. In January, he was feted at a Nashville gala that included tributes from the likes of Taylor Swift, Bono and Bill Clinton.

Clement is survived by two children.

More Music

  • Jenni Rivera Biopic

    Authorized Jenni Rivera Biopic in the Works

    An authorized biopic of the late singer Jenni Rivera is in the works, seven years after she died in a plane crash at the age of 43. The life rights deal was announced Tuesday with an agreement between Jenni Rivera Enterprises and producers Javier Chapa and Simon Wise of Mucho Mas Media and Donald De [...]

  • Toronto Raptors fans wait for the

    Drake Turns Raptors' Celebration Into a Million-Person Hugfest

    Drake chugged a can of beer that was tossed to him, did interviews, and signed merch along the Toronto Raptors victory parade route Monday, but when the NBA champions arrived at Nathan Phillips Square hours later — the procession’s final destination, where an estimated million people had gathered on the grounds and outskirts —  the [...]

  • Tencent Music presentation at Shanghai

    Shanghai: Tencent Proposes Alliance of Music and Film

    All tech companies strive to be ubiquitous. Within China, behemoth Tencent is a clear leader of the pack. From the company’s “pan entertainment strategy” in 2012 to its 2018 equivalent “neo-creativity strategy,” Tencent keeps unveiling new master plans, each time with more in-house platforms and business approaches involved. On the margins of the Shanghai International [...]

  • Dee Rees

    Dee Rees Directing 'Kyd's Exquisite Follies' Movie Musical

    “Mudbound” director Dee Rees will direct independent movie musical fantasy “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script. “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” will be produced by Cassian Elwes, one of the “Mudbound” producers. Santigold is set to compose the music, with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic creating the film’s visual effects. Endeavor Content is repping the [...]

  • Genius Spars With Google Over Lyric

    Genius Accuses Google of Scraping Song Lyrics, Music Data Company Hits Back

    Lyrics annotation service Genius.com has accused Google of scraping its site and stealing its content, the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend. However, a lyrics data provider at the center of the controversy claimed on Monday that those allegations were without merit. The Journal reported that Genius had been complaining to Google about the alleged [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content