PASSINGS: Mel McDaniel, Lou Gorman, Harley Allen

Mel McDaniel

Country music singer-songwriter


Mel McDaniel, 68, a husky-voiced

country music

singer-songwriter who had a No. 1 hit with

died of lung cancer Thursday at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn., the Grand Ole Opry announced.

McDaniel's other hits, most in the early and mid-1980s, included

''Stand Up," "Big Ole Brew" and "Let It Roll (Let It Rock)."

McDaniel was a regular performer on the

beginning in 1986. He also wrote "The Grandest Lady of Them All" for

Conway Twitty

, which is used as the Opry's theme song on broadcasts from the country music show in Nashville.

He also wrote "Goodbye Marie" for Kenny Rogers and

which was recorded by Hoyt Axton, Commander Cody and others.

Born in 1942 in Checotah, Okla., McDaniel sang for oil field workers in


in the 1970s and made a living pumping gas before finding success in Nashville.

Many of the songs McDaniel recorded, including "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On," were written by Bob McDill.

"Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" related to average Americans, McDaniel said in a 1985 interview. "The main thing everybody says to me is, 'I can picture that in my mind.'"

Lou Gorman

Boston Red Sox general manager

Lou Gorman, 82, the former Boston Red Sox general manager who built the team that came within one strike of winning the 1986

World Series

, died Friday at

Massachusetts General Hospital

in Boston after an almost yearlong illness.

"All he wanted to do was make it to Opening Day, and he made it," said his nephew Tom Dougherty.

James "Lou" Gorman was the Red Sox general manager from 1984 to 1993. He was the architect of the 1986

American League

championship team, led by pitcher

Roger Clemens

and third baseman Wade Boggs, that was one strike away from winning the World Series before the

New York Mets

came back to win Games 6 and 7. It wasn't until 2004 that the Red Sox finally won it all and ended what had become an 86-year title drought.

Gorman's Red Sox won 80 or more games in eight of his 10 seasons. Besides 1986, when the Red Sox rallied to beat the


in the AL championship series in stunning fashion, his teams won

American League East

division titles in 1988 and 1990.

A native of

Rhode Island

, Gorman played briefly for the


Grays of the Class B New England League in 1948. He earned a bachelor's degree at Stonehill College in


, Mass., where the baseball field is named for him. He earned a master's degree at Bridgewater State College.

Gorman was the first general manager of the

Seattle Mariners

, leading the club through its 1977 expansion into the American League. He also worked with the Mets,

Baltimore Orioles


Kansas City Royals


Harley Allen

Prolific country music songwriter

Harley Allen, 55, a prolific songwriter who wrote country music hits for

Alan Jackson

, John Michael Montgomery, Ricky Skaggs and others, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Brentwood, Tenn., according to the Tennessean newspaper.

Allen, the son of


singer Red Allen, was born in 1956 and reared in Dayton,


. As a teenager, he performed in a bluegrass band with his brothers Greg, Neal and Ronnie while developing his songwriting craft.

Among the songs he wrote or co-wrote were "Between the Devil and Me," which Jackson took to No. 1; "Little Girl," a No. 1 hit for John Michael Montgomery; "I'll Wait for You," which Joe Nichols sang at

Anna Nicole Smith

's funeral; "Baby," a top 10 hit for

Blake Shelton

; "Simple Life," a concert staple for Ricky Skaggs; and "High Sierra," recorded by the trio of

Emmylou Harris


Dolly Parton


Linda Ronstadt


Allen won two

Grammy Awards

for singing harmonies with the Soggy Bottom Boys on "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow," part of the successful "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack album.

Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports