Willie Denson, 69; Songwriter Known for ‘Mama Said’

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Willie Denson, 69, a singer songwriter best known for “Mama Said,” a pop music hit he wrote with Luther Dixon, died Saturday of lung cancer at his home in Columbus, Ga.

Denson published more than 250 songs, some of them recorded by major artists, including Aretha Franklin, Gene Pitney and the Shirelles, whose rendition of “Mama Said” climbed the pop music charts in 1961.

He also worked for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 30 years.


In 2001 he won a $3-million lotto prize. “Winning didn’t change him a bit,” his daughter, Danette Powell, told the Associated Press.