"Cowboy" Jack Clement, an influential producer, songwriter and engineer who had been revered in country music since the 1950s and was later sought out by rock acts for his creative input, has died. He was 82.
Clement died Thursday of
Clement was the first to record
Kris Kristofferson often cited Clement's influence on his music career.
"'Cowboy' Jack Clement was the first person I met in Nashville, while I was still in uniform in the Army," Kristofferson told The Times in an email. "He introduced me to Johnny Cash.... To me Jack will always be the embodiment of the Nashville songwriter's love of the song, regardless of who the writer was."
He picked up the "Cowboy" nickname while playing steel guitar as a student at Memphis State University, according to the 2007 book "Nashville Portraits."
Clement's idiosyncratic career was examined and celebrated in the acclaimed 2005 documentary "Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan: Cowboy Jack Clement's Home Movies," which featured interviews with Jones as well as
Jack Henderson Clement was born April 8, 1931, in
As a teenager he enlisted in the Marines and after serving for four years toured in a bluegrass band. Upon returning to Memphis in 1954, he started working as a producer and engineer at Sun Records. He moved to Nashville in 1959 and joined RCA, where he continued to make records with some of country's biggest names.
As a songwriter he may be best known as the composer of two songs that Johnny Cash took to No. 1 on the country charts in 1958: "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way." Clement also wrote "Just Someone I Used to Know," which Parton and Porter Wagoner turned into a Top 5 country hit in 1969.
For U2, Clement produced "When Love Comes to Town" and "Angel of Harlem" for the "Rattle and Hum" album. Clement also did the first recordings for
In January Clement was honored at an all-star concert at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium by Kristofferson, Pride, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell,
Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame along with Bobby
Information on survivors was not immediately available.