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O'Dell, songwriter of "Behind Closed Doors," dies

Thursday, March 29, 2018 – Grammy Award-winning songwriter Kenny O'Dell, best known for having penned Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors" and The Judds' "Mama He's Crazy," died on Tuesday in Nashville at 73.

"Behind Closed Doors" earned O'Dell a Grammy in 1973 for Best Country & Western Recording.

O'Dell was born Kenneth Gist Jr. on June 21, 1944 and had his own recording career into addition to being a songwriter. His first disc was "Beautiful People" on Vegas. He also released "Kenny O'Dell" in 1974 and "Let's Shake Hands and Come Out Lovin'" in 1978, both on Capricorn.

The title track from the latter album earned O'Dell a number 9 hit in 1978. He also had top 20s with the follow-up single, "As Long as I Can Wake UP in Your Arms"." He had another hit with "Soulful Woman," which reached 18 in 1975.

As a songwriter, O'Dell also had a top 10 hit with "I Take It On Home," which Rich recorded. Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Dottie West and Billie Jo Spears recorded his songs.

More news for Charlie Rich

CD reviews for Charlie Rich

Behind Closed Doors
Charlie Rich isn't much remembered these days, but remains one of the most fertile musical minds to ever spill out of the South. Never purely country, always ladling a dollop of gospel and jazz and the blues into his singularly elegant songs, he was truly an odd man out. They never knew what to do with him at Sun Records. Which is only to say that he had a sound of his own. 1973's "Doors" was a triumph - a huge commercial smash that made him a star after years of languishing in the wilderness. »»»
Big Boss Man: The Groove Sessions
Originally recorded for RCA/Victor's Groove imprint under producer Chet Atkins, these sides from 1963-4 were Charlie Rich's first releases after his departure from Sun Records. Unlike those earlier singles, the Groove masters feature Rich's tenor in a fuller maturity, exhibiting for the first time a power and range unmatched by any other performer in Nashville then or since. They are also the first of his records to be ornamented with chorale vocals and occasional strings, accouterments which »»»
Feels Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich could communicate emotional candor with such vocal grace. His output was vastand these 36 songs are just a taste, moving from his Sun singles, through the shimmering Smash recordings (perhaps his best work), the lush Epic sessions, and the final" Pictures and Paintings." If the collection is not a definitive history of Rich's art - jazz is slighted, as is his gospel record "Silver Lining," and there's nothing from "Sings Country and Western" - the quality is high. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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