Songwriter George Green Passes

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• August 31, 2011

The Oaks had a major hit with "Come On In," written by George Green and Rick Giles. (Editor's note: no photos of Green are available.)

George Michael Green, a hit songwriter in both the country and pop fields, has died at age 59 of lung cancer.

Green is best known for his collaborations with John Mellencamp on such hits as “Hurts So Good,” “Crumblin’ Down” and “Rain on the Scarecrow.” Over the years, Mellencamp has recorded more than a dozen of their co-written songs. The two were school classmates and boyhood friends in Seymour, Indiana, and Green spent most of his career in Bloomington.

He also often collaborated with Nashville songwriters. The Oak Ridge Boys scored a major hit with “Come On In (You Did the Best That You Could Do),” a 1985 song co-written by Green and Rick Giles. Ricky Skaggs recorded Green’s “My Father’s Son,” Gary Morris sang the songwriter’s “South December Road,” Dwight Yoakam recorded his “Common Day Man,” The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did “America My Sweetheart” and Lacy J. Dalton recorded Green’s “This Ol’ Town” and “Up with the Wind.”

Kenny Chesney, who released a cover version of “Hurts So Good,” co-wrote “Hook in the Heart,” “Home Sweet Home” and “Girl in the Coffee Shop” with George Green.

Others who have recorded the late songwriter’s efforts include Nashville rocker Tom Kimmell, Barbra Streisand, Hall & Oates, Van Zant, Christopher Cross, Vanessa Williams and Melissa Manchester.

Singer-songwriter Jude Cole called Green, “a gifted and humble gentleman.” Mellencamp eulogized him as, “a dreamer.” In addition to Cole, Giles and Mellencamp, Green’s songwriting collaborators included Dennis Matkosky, Steve Dorff, Kent Agee, Dave Robbins and the late Van Stephenson.

On Sunday, August 28, George Green died in Albuquerque, NM, where he had lived for the past decade. He is survived by his wife Kathryn and children Nicholas Green, Carrie Evans, Ian Green and Sarah Bolivar, as well as 16 grandchildren. He was cremated in Albuquerque, and a memorial service is being planned in Bloomington.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Riley Hospital Foundation, 545 Barnhill Dr., Ste. 215, Indianapolis, IN 46202 or online at www.rileykids.org to the George M. Green Memorial Fund.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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