Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Last Roundup: Iconoclastic Songwriter and Music Producer Cowboy Jack Clement Dies at 82

Posted By on Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 11:48 AM

If Jack Clement had abandoned the music industry when he left Sun Records in 1959, his legacy would have still been secure. Clement was the first person to record Roy Orbison. He brought Jerry Lee Lewis into the Sun records stable of artists while Sam Phillips was on vacation in Forida. He's also the man who pressed "play" when the Million Dollar Quartet started jamming.

But Clement moved on to Nashville where he introduced the world to Charley Pride, and introduced George Jones to the music of Dickey Lee.

Clement penned the Johnny Cash hit "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," and the classic country weeper "Just a Girl I Used to Know." He arranged the mariachi horns for Cash's "Ring of Fire," and produced Waylon Jennings' definitive "Dreaming My Dreams."

Those lucky enough to catch Clement live also know that this one-time Arthur Murray dance instructor with a love of English literature could make Hamlet's famous "to be or not to be" speech feel like a back porch recitation.

Clement was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the spring of this year.

Robert Gordon's playful documentary, embedded above, captures Clement's playful, iconoclastic spirit.

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