Joe South, the singer/songwriter behind numerous 1960s and 1970s hits, including “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” (performed live by Elvis in 1970), “Games People Play,” and “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home,” died yesterday in Buford, Georgia. He was 72.
South also penned hits for other artists, including “Rose Garden” (Lynn Anderson), “Hush” (Billy Joe Royal; Deep Purple), and “Down In The Boondocks” (Billy Joe Royal).
In the 1960s, he was a Nashville session musician, working with luminaries such as Eddy Arnold, Aretha Franklin (“Chain Of Fools”), Wilson Pickett, Marty Robbins, and Bob Dylan (Blonde on Blonde).
“I never met Elvis but I saw him play live at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. He heard I was in the house and he made me stand up,” stated South in Ken Sharp’s Elvis Presley: Writing For The King – The Stories Of The Songwriters (2006, FTD).
South recalled, “He explained that I was the one who wrote ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes.’ I didn’t even know that it was a big deal with him. It was just an album cut. He performed it at the show. His live version that night was great, man.”
South is survived by a son and granddaughter.
He was a real talent. My condolences go out to his family and friends.