Many can write, but only a few can tell a story with pungent wit, sensitivity, and depth, like Tom T. Hall. The famed storyteller of country music and one of the genre’s leading figures during the ‘70s passed away at 85 in his home in Franklin, Tennessee, his son Dean Hall told The Tennessean.
As a songwriter, he was well-known for his hits like Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 song “Harper Valley PTA” as well as his own number one country single of the ‘70s “The Year Clayton Delaney Died”. He was also famous for his top 10 hit “I Like A Beer” and his highest-charting song on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 “I Love”. Among modern fans, Hall was best recognized for “How I Got to Memphis” which is now considered an Americana standard.
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He also landed seven top 10 albums on the chart with ‘The Rhymer and Other Five and Dimers’ peaking at number one. He also received several nods from the CMA and Grammys, though he only won once in 1972 as Best Album Notes for writing the liner notes for ‘Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits’.
Tom T. Hall was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1971 and was inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978. He also became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. The Academy of Country Music bestowed him the Poet’s Award in 2010.
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In a statement by Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young, he said that Hall’s masterworks were always bound by ‘his ceaseless and unyielding empathy for the triumphs and losses of others.’ And he bets that there would be no one like him again, but if we do, he will be the very first in line to buy tickets to the show.
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