'Cowboy' Jack Clement Passes Away: Original Producer for Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis, U2 and Johnny Cash Collaborator
"Cowboy" Jack Clement, a legendary music writer and producer, died at his home in Nashville, TN on Thursday morning. Ne was 82 and suffering from liver cancer.
Clement had a minor role as a performer during his youth, but his claim to fame will always rest in his work as a producer. As a Memphis resident during the '50s, he worked at Sun Records and was the first to produce for performers such as Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. He wrote songs for Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton and his best friend, Johnny Cash. Despite penning several tracks for Cash, his most renowned contribution to the Man in Black's career would be arranging the horns played during "Ring of Fire."
Other projects to his name include producing Waylon Jennings' "Dreaming My Dreams," an album that would be renowned within the "outlaw country" genre growing during the '70s. Despite his popularity with country rebels, he was also largely responsible for bringing musician Charley Pride into the spotlight, a move many refer to as the "desegregation of country music." Clement wouldn't be limited to country however. He also produced a few tracks for U2 on its 1988 album "Rattle and Hum."
Aside from his actions that are deserving of legend, Clement was renowned for building his own tall tales. He took the nickname "Cowboy" despite having a pronounced aversion to horses, and he long claimed himself to be "Nashville's Polka King," mainly because no one called him on it.
"He's the first guy I met in Nashville, and we've been friends ever since," musician Kris Kristofferson said. "One of my favorite people on the planet. An amazing character. Totally supportive of the right things in music, and funny on top of it."