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Larry Butlers Wall of Work
Photo courtesy larrybutler.com

Craig and I noticed this morning that one of the all time greats “behind the scenes” guys in Nashville, Larry Butler, had passed away.  We did some research and found a rare video of Larry performing with Johnny Cash on a music show back in 1972 on German TV. I also put together a short bio.

Larry Butler (March 26, 1942 – January 20, 2012) was a country music producer/songwriter.

Butler moved to Nashville with only a few dollars in his pocket. Soon his unique style of piano playing supported such hits as “Hello Darlin” by Conway Twitty and “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro. Butler was in high demand as a Nashville session player and backed up Nashville celebrities such as Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Bobby Goldsboro, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Lynn Anderson and more.

Moving to Memphis in the late 1960s, Butler hooked-up with Chips Moman. As The Gentrys, they hit the pop charts with “Keep On Dancin’” and “Every Day I Have To Cry Some”.

Butler worked closely with Johnny Cash producing some of “the man in black”‘s biggest hits. So successful was the partnership that Butler became Cash’s producer, pianist, musical director and studio manager.

Unquestionably, Butler’s biggest success was producing Kenny Rogers. It was Butler who converted Rogers to Country Music and their studio collaboration yielded many of Kenny’s greatest hits including,

  • “Lucille” (1977)
  • “Love Or Something Like It” (1978)
  • “The Gambler” (1978)
  • “She Believes In Me” (1979)
  • “You Decorated My Life” (1979)
  • “Coward Of The County” (1979)

Butler is the only Nashville producer to win the Grammy Award for Producer of the year.

Butler died in his sleep, in his home town, Pensacola, Florida on January 20, 2012.

 

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