Bobby Emmons, Legendary Musician for Oak Ridge Boys, George Strait, Waylon Jennings & Others, Has Died

Bobby Emmons

Legendary Nashville musician and songwriter Bobby Emmons has died Monday, February 23rd, in a Nashville hospital following an undisclosed illness, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. He was 72.

The Mississippi-native was a mostly self-taught organ player and keyboardist who became a staple of the Memphis, Tenn., music scene and played on about 120 of chart hits between 1962 and 1972. 

Emmons got his start with the Bill Black Combo from 1960-1963, before going on to a successful career in the house bands at house bands at Hi Records and American Studios. Known as the 827 Thomas Street Band, the American Group, and, eventually, the Memphis Boys. Among the iconic recordings on which Emmons and his fellow players appeared were "Suspicious Minds," by Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. 

Emmons' piano and organ playing was also heard on recordings by the Oak Ridge Boys, Dionne Warwick, Natalie Merchant, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, the Highwaymen and Crystal Gayle. As a songwriter, he had cuts by the likes of Roxie Dean ("A Man Like Bugs"), George Strait ("So Much Like My Dad"), Waylon Jennings ("Luckenbach, Texas," "Women Do Know How to Carry On" and "Wurlitzer Prize") and Tanya Tucker ("Love Me Like You Used To"). 

A memorial service for Emmons is currently pending.





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