Joe South Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Joe South

February 28, 1940 - September 5, 2012
Obituary

View Larger   Joe South, 72: Music ‘lit him up’ By Michelle E. Shaw The Atlanta Journal-Constitution The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Donny Osmond were just a few of the artists that singer, songwriter and session musician Joe South got to rub elbows with. And while most of his hits came in the ’60s and ’70s, he never lost his love for music. “He’d just really started to enjoy life,” said Judy Thompson, a friend of more than 30 years. “But he was still working. He’d just had a...


















Joe South, 72: Music ?lit him up? photo


Joe South, 72: Music ‘lit him up’





By Michelle E. Shaw



The Atlanta Journal-Constitution




The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Donny Osmond were just a few of the artists that singer, songwriter and session musician Joe South got to rub elbows with. And while most of his hits came in the ’60s and ’70s, he never lost his love for music.



“He’d just really started to enjoy life,” said Judy Thompson, a friend of more than 30 years. “But he was still working. He’d just had a song released in Australia.”



Mr. South’s death Wednesday was sudden and unexpected, Ms. Thompson said, noting they’d recently returned from an extended trip to California. They flew out for his granddaughter’s second birthday and took the train back to Atlanta.



“It took us four hours to get out there, and four days to get back,” she said with a laugh. “But he loved every minute of it, and said taking the train across the country was on his bucket list.”



Born Joseph Souter, Mr. South died from apparent heart failure at his Flowery Branch home, Ms. Thompson said. He was 72. A funeral is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday at H.M. Patterson, Oglethorpe Hill, which is handling arrangements.



Mr. South worked as a session guitar player on recordings of some of the biggest names of the 1960s — including playing on Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” He also worked with Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, among others. In the late ’60s he had a string of his own hits that made his booming voice a familiar one on radio stations, with a style that some described as a mix of country and soul.



The Atlanta native may be best known for the song “Games People Play,” which reached No. 12 on the Billboard charts in 1969 and won him two Grammys for Best Contemporary Song and Song of the Year. The song, released on South’s debut album “Introspect,” spoke against hate, hypocrisy and inhumanity.



“He was a brilliant writer because he was a deep thinker,” said Karin Johnson, of Lowery Music, who’d worked with Mr. South for the past 10 years. “He was able to capture the times well, particularly in the ’60s.”



Don Law, a Lawrenceville recording artist, said Mr. South felt “music could change people from the inside out.”



“Joe had this way about him, a way to convey a message through music, that I don’t think anyone has matched,” he said.



Mr. South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2003, according to the Lowery Music group.



Butch Lowery, president of Bill Lowery Music, called Mr. South, “one of the most prolific songwriters of our time.”



“To not only be a great writer, but to be a performer and guitarist, he was a triple threat,” said Ms. Johnson. “He was immersed in music. That’s what lit him up.”



In addition to his granddaughter, Mr. South is survived by his son, Craig South of North Hollywood, Calif







 


Share your memories or express your condolences by signing the Guest Book below or click here for entry suggestions.

"Dank voor je mooie muziek. Ik zal je altijd herinneren. Vooral de song : God vergeef me. Deze hoorde in jouw en mijn leven. God zegent je."

Submit Guest Book Entry
This Guest Book has 319 entries. View Complete Guest Book

More Obituaries

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Donny Osmond were just a few of the artists that singer, songwriter and session musician Joe South got to rub...

Read obituary at Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Personalize Your Tribute

Share photos, videos and more with Legacy Memorial Websites. Find out more.

 
Start Planning Today

Make Your Plan Today

Preplanning your funeral or cemetery arrangements gives you and your loved ones peace of mind. Don't wait. Make your plan online today.
Plan Online Now