Today, we remember the death of one of country music’s greatest country outlaw artists. It’s been sixteen years since we lost Johnny Paycheck from respiratory failure. In 2003, Paycheck took his last breath at the Nashville Vanderbilt University Medical center at the age of 64. Before his death, he had been suffering from numerous illnesses such as emphysema and asthma.
The Young Johnny Paycheck
Johnny Paycheck was born as Donald Eugene Lytle on May 31, 1938, at Greenfield Ohio. At a very young age, Paycheck’s talent has already been discovered. He was fond of performing in talent shows, and when he was a teenager, he moved out of his house and started playing at clubs. However, his musical talent was temporarily disrupted when he joined the army.
After being released from a military prison for hitting his superior, Paycheck was finally free. However, he didn’t immediately begin singing. He first started as a songwriter at the Tree Publishing house.
He finally decided to change his name to Johnny Paycheck in 1964. The following year, he began releasing songs that entered the Billboard country chart. Some of the singles from the beginning of his career were “A-11,” “Heartbreak Tennessee,” and “The Lovin’ Machine.”
“Take This Job and Shove It”
After years of writing and releasing songs, Paycheck continuously made singles that scored spots on the country chart. Some of which almost hit number one. However, in 1977, Paycheck’s hard work finally paid off. “Take This Job and Shove It” is a song penned by another country singer, David Allan Coe. He gave Paycheck his signature song.
Paycheck recorded the song for his same-titled album, and also released it as a single. When it came out, “Take This Job and Shove It” reached number one on both the US and Canadian chart. This then marked Paycheck’s first and only number one song on the country chart.
Even though we lost one of country music’s greatest singers, his music will always and forever remain in our hearts.