Country songwriting great Frank Dycus has died at age 72. The writer of hits for George Strait, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Mark Chesnutt, Porter Wagoner and others passed away on Friday, November 23, following years of failing health.
One of Music Row’s best raconteurs, Marion Franklin Dycus was born in Hardmoney, Kentucky and was one of 13 children. He was fronting a country band by the time he was in his teens. He hitchhiked to California at age 15, then returned to Kentucky and joined the Air Force for a seven-year stint.
He spent time in Kansas working at Boeing and hosting a radio show before moving to Nashville in 1967. Dycus first tasted songwriting success in 1970, when George Morgan had a hit with his co-written “Lilacs and Fire.” Porter Wagoner took the Dycus song “Charley’s Picture” to No. 15 in 1971.
The songwriter’s first top-10 hit was with the 1974 Jerry Lee Lewis single “He Can’t Fill My Shoes.” The Wagoner and Dolly Parton 1976 top-10 hit duet “Is Forever Longer Than Always” was also from the Dycus catalog.
Dycus is perhaps best known for the trio of hits he co-wrote for George Strait, 1981’s “Unwound” and “Down and Out,” plus 1982’s “Marina Del Ray.” George Jones won a 1992 CMA Award for “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair,” which Dycus also co-wrote.
The songwriter hit No. 1 with “Gonna Get a Life,” sung by Mark Chesnutt in 1995, which helped Dycus earn SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year honors.
Dycus also wrote charted singles for Johnny Bush, Red Sovine, Johnny Paycheck, Joe Sun, Stella Parton, David Ball, Doug Supernaw, Gary Allan, Ronny Robbins. The Rovers, Southern Reign, Gary Stewart and his frequent song collaborator, Dean Dillon.
Other Frank Dycus co-writers have included Jim Lauderdale, Larry Kingston, Porter Wagoner, Billy Yates and Kerry Kurt Phillips.
Frank Dycus is survived by his wife, Mary Johnson; by children Sheila Dycus, Shannon Foxen, Shawn Bilbrey and Robert Dycus; by siblings Don Dycus, Jerry Dycus and Dana Forbes; by stepchildren Jamie Scott, Donna Stevenson, Dean Birkheimer and Glen Birkheimer and by grandchildren Vinnie Johnson and Samantha Bilbrey.
Jones-Stewart Funeral Home in Lyons, Georgia is handling the funeral arrangements. Dycus wished to have his ashes scattered off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia. Donations in his name can be made to Vanderbilt Children’s Cancer Center in Nashville.
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About the AuthorRobert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.
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