Billy Sherrill, who produced 'Stand By Your Man', dead at 78

Tue Aug 4, 2015 6:53pm EDT
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By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Billy Sherrill, the producer behind country music hits including Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," died on Tuesday after a brief illness at the age of 78.

Sherrill, a Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee in 2010, was remembered as an excellent song man, by Harold Bradley, 89, the guitarist who played on numerous sessions, including "Stand By Your Man."

"He was great to work for," said Bradley, who remains active with session work and as a performer.

"He was very creative. He had a knack for picking songs and he was a great songwriter," said Bradley.

Born Nov. 5, 1936 in Phil Campbell, Alabama, Sherrill began his music career playing piano while his evangelist father conducted revivals, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He went on to perform as a rock act and participate in the Alabama R&B scene before he was brought to Nashville by music legend Sam Phillips, who was behind the careers of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison among others.

Sherrill worked as a producer and engineer at Phillips' downtown Nashville studios, developing skills and a layered, lush sound that would transform music, it said.

"One of country's most influential producers, Billy Sherrill helped to shape the music's evolution in the 1970s and beyond," the Hall said in its biography.   Continued...