Wednesday, August 28, 2019
– Muscle Shoals musician, songwriter and actor Donnie Fritts, who had success as a country songwriter and musician has died at 76 after a lengthy battle with health issues.
Fritts was an influence in the development Southern soul music whose songs were recorded by Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Dusty Springfield. "We Had it All', "Breakfast In Bed" and "You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning" were all penned by Fritts.
The longtime keyboard player for Kris Kristofferson for more than 20 years, Fritts had roles in a number of films, including Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and Convoy. He also appeared in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born. His most recent on-screen role was in the 2012 film Jayne Mansfield's Car, written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton.
Over the past five years, Fritts's worked with fellow Shoals musician and producer John Paul White and his label Single Lock Records. Single Lock released "Oh My Goodness," on which Fritts worked with fellow Alabama musicians including Alabama Shakes members Brittany Howard and Ben Tanner, The Secret Sisters, Dylan LeBlanc, and original Fritts friends David Hood, Spooner Oldham and John Prine.
Fritts' last LP, "June," was a tribute to his friend and collaborator Arthur Alexander. Fritts' previous albums included "Prone to Lean," "Everybody's Got a Song" and the Dan Penn-produced "One Foot in the Groove."
White said "Donnie practically forced me to produce his record. I had never done one, and he said, 'I don't care. You're the one'. He sang 'Errol Flynn' for me live in his home, and by the end of it, we were both in tears. I've loved him since. I will miss him terribly."