Sad to hear, just now, of the passing of one of the all-time great behind-the-scenes players, perhaps the greatest arranger and producer to ever work in country music, Billy Sherrill. Best known for his work with Tammy Wynette and George Jones Sherrill had a hand in so many hit records – working also with the likes of Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Bobby Vinton, Andy Williams, Johnny Cash and David Allan Coe (and that’s just a very short list) – and often he was the producer, arranger and co-writer.
So many huge highlights in a career that saw him work closely with Charlie Rich and the smooth, countrypolitan sound that dominated across the 1970s and 1980s, with roots in the 1960s productions, is Sherrill’s lasting legacy.
But if he had just had a hand in Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man and George Jones’ He Stopped Loving Her Today that would have been enough; two of the all-time greats from two of the all-time greats.
Billy Sherrill knew how to make a sound that sold heartbreak. Billy Sherrill had so many
huge hits to his name. He was a very important part of country music. You can’t imagine not having those signature songs in the cannon. Not now. They’re there forever. Thanks – in part, an important part too, to Billy.
R.I.P. Billy Sherrill