Joe South, who won two Grammys in 1969 for his magnificent protest song Games People Play, has died at the age of 72.
The song, which took its name from a book by psychoanalyst Dr Eric Berne, has been covered by hundreds of musicians including Dolly Parton, Petula Clark, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike & Tina Turner, Dick Gaughan and James Taylor.
Singer-songwriter South, whose real name was Joseph Souter, was born in Atlanta on 28 February 1940. He died yesterday at his home in Buford, Atlanta, from a heart attack.
South started his music career with a 1958 novelty song called The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor. Among his other 1960s and 70s hits were Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home and Down in the Boondocks. He also wrote the Grammy-nominated (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden for country singer Lynn Anderson.
South was also a respected session musician, playing guitar on Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools and on Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album and with Simon & Garfunkel (The Sound Of Silence) and on albums with Eddy Arnold and Wilson Pickett.
His life was marked by tragedy and following the suicide of his drummer brother, Tommy Souter, in 1971, he moved to Maui and retired from recording for number of years, living in seclusion as he battled addiction problems. His final album was Classic Masters in 2002 and he was inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.