Black Music Matters Festival

Songwriter Paul Craft dies

Monday, October 20, 2014 – Nashville songwriter and recent Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Paul Craft, who wrote such hits as "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," and 'Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life)," died Saturday at 76 after suffering from deteriorating health for several years.

Bobby Bare had a hit with "Dropkick Me, Jesus" and Moe Bandy recorded "Hank Williams..."

Craft was born in Memphis in 1938 and spent the early part of his life in Proctor, Ark. After the Coast Guard and college at the University of Virginia, Craft eventually focused on songwriter. Skeeter Davids and Sam the Sham recorded his songs "Somewhere with Me Sometime" and "Let it Eat," respectively, in 1968.

Craft moved to Nashville in 1975 and within the year had the 2 country songs nominated for Grammy Awards. He had 35 of his songs recorded during his first year there.

Craft also wrote songs for Ray Stevens ("It's Me Again, Margaret"), Mark Chesnutt ("Brother Jukebox") and John Anderson ("His And Hers"). Craft had a recording contract with RCA. In the 1970s he charted with the singles "We Know Better," "Lean On Jesus" and "Teardrops In My Tequila." Other songs include "Midnight Flyer" (The Eagles, The Osborne Brothers), "Keep Me From Blowing Away" (Linda Ronstadt, The Grascals, Willie Nelson) and "Teardrops Will Kiss The Morning Dew" (Alison Krauss, The Osborne Brothers).

"This year's Hall of Fame induction was going to be a dream night for Paul," said NaSHOF Board Chair and fellow Hall of Fame member Pat Alger. "Membership in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is the highest honor that our songwriting community can bestow - and it was no secret that one of Paul's career goals was to be included in this group. Like all our inductees, Paul was excited to be part of the big night and it is heartbreaking that he came so close without being able to fully participate in his moment in the spotlight. We're very grateful that he was able to enjoy the past few months knowing that his long and prolific career was going to be honored by his friends, family and fellow songwriters. We will miss him dearly and remember him always through his legacy of brilliant songwriting."

A memorial service will be held in Nashville on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at West End United Methodist Church