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 “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On,” 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 “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Stand Up,” “Big Ole Brew” and “Let It Roll (Let It Rock).”


McDaniel was a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry 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 “Roll Your Own,” which was recorded by Hoyt Axton, Commander Cody and others.

Born in 1942 in Checotah, Okla., McDaniel sang for oil field workers in Alaska 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 Angels 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 Providence Grays of the Class B New England League in 1948. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Stonehill College in Easton, 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 and 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 bluegrass singer Red Allen, was born in 1956 and reared in Dayton, Ohio. 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 and 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


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