Cowboy Jack Clement Dies at 82

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• August 8, 2013
“Cowboy” Jack Clement at the 2013 CMA ceremony for the Country Music Hall of Fame’s 2013 inductees, Wednesday, April 10 in Downtown Nashville. Photo: John Russell/CMA

“Cowboy” Jack Clement at the 2013 CMA ceremony for the Country Music Hall of Fame’s 2013 inductees, Wednesday, April 10 in Downtown Nashville. Photo: John Russell/CMA

Cowboy Jack Clement died Thursday morning (Aug. 8) at his home in Nashville after a long battle with liver cancer. He was 82. Clement is slated to be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.

Jack Henderson Clement was born April 5, 1931, in the Whitehaven suburb of Memphis, Tenn.

After spending four years in the Marine Corps, Clement toured with a bluegrass band before temporarily living in Memphis. It was there that Sun Records founder Sam Phillips hired Clement as a staff producer-engineer.

In 1953, Clement made his first record. He studied at Memphis State University, where he earned his lifelong nickname “Cowboy.” He built his first recording studio in 1956, and has worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and numerous others. Clement wrote “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and produced Johnny Cash‘s iconic “Ring of Fire.”

Clement moved to Nashville in 1960, working as a songwriter and producer for Chet Atkins at RCA. Clement later relocated to Beaumont, Texas, where he opened Gulf Coast Recording Studios with producer Bill Hall.

It was Clement who persuaded George Jones to record Dickey Lee‘s “She Thinks I Still Care,” along with the Clement-penned “Just Someone I Used To Know.” In the 1970s, he opened the JMI label, which became home to singer-songwriter Don Williams. Clement also opened Jack Clement Recording Studios, the first 16-track studio in Nashville and has written songs for Bobby Bare, Jones, Elvis Presley, Hank Snow, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. Clement also produced Waylon JenningsDreaming My Dreams and hosted recording sessions for Merle Haggard and Ray Stevens, among others.

Clement has also produced for Townes Van Zant, Hank Williams, Jr. and U2. Clement’s career success was highlighted earlier this year in a ceremony at Nashville’s WAR Memorial.

“I’ve been walking around for the last hour thanking God for the privilege of knowing Cowboy Jack Clement,” says Marty Stuart. “He was one of my dearest friends. To know the Cowboy was to know one of the most original people to ever walk the Earth. I love him and I will miss him. Connie and I send our love to all the Clement family.”

Photos by Alan Mayor.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson is a staff writer with MusicRow Enterprises. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine, TasteofCountry.com and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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