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Songwriter Ted Harris dies

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – Ted Harris, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and writer of hits for Charley Pride, Glenn Campbell and Steve Wariner, died on Sunday at 78 in Lewisburg, Tenn.

Harris wrote Pride's "The Happiness of Havin' You," a number 3 hit in 1975 and Campbell and Wariner's "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," which hit number 6 in 1987.

Theodore Clifford Harris was born Aug. 2, 1937 in Lakeland, Fla. His father played violin and his mother played piano. Saturday nights were spent listening to the Grand Old Opry. By eight, Harris learned guitar chords. He wrote his first song by the time he was 12.

Harris moved to Nashville to Nashville, not knowing anyone. Hank Snow was Harris' favorite artist. Soon after arriving in Nashville, Harris visited Snow's music publishing company where he met hit songwriter Ted Daffan, who took Harris under his wing.

"Whatever Ted said, I listened to, because he was successful," Harris said.

Harris worked in the grocery business for seven years, while writing songs on the side. He scored his first hit in 1965 when Carl Belew recorded "Crystal Chandelier," which reached number 12 on the Billboard charts.

Harris soon found his songs recorded by Dottie West, Ferlin Husky, Roy Drusky, Jack Green and Jeannie Seely. By the end of the 1970s, he had 120 cuts to his credit, writing all of them by himself.

In 1990, Harris was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He retired in 2001 and sold his own publishing company to Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

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