Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame Member Ted Harris Dies aged 78

Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame Induction Year: 1990
Birth Name: Theodore Clifford Harris
Birth Date: 08-02-1937
Place of Birth: Lakeland, Florida

(24 Nov 2015) 
Condolences to family and friends of Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame member TED HARRIS, who passed away at his residence in Lewisburg, TN on Sunday November 22nd at the age of 78. This according to Hall of Fame executive director Mark Ford  and reported by The Columbia Daily Herald.
Ted Harris Montage CLICK to ENLARGE

  • Mr. Harris penned hits for Charley Pride, Dottie West, Ferlin Husky, Glen Campbell, and many others throughout his long-spanning writing and publishing career.
  • As a kid growing up in a small town in Florida, Ted Harris was surrounded by music. His dad played violin and guitar, and his mom played piano. Every Saturday night, the family tuned in to the Grand Ole Opry.
  • By the time Ted was eight years old, he was learning chords on the guitar, and at 12 he wrote his first song.
  • After high school, he started a job with the local newspaper, but his passion for music would not be denied.
  • In 1958, the 20-year-old Harris took a wild chance and moved to Nashville, not knowing a soul. Hank Snow was his favorite artist, so shortly after arriving, Harris dropped in to Snow's music-publishing company, Silver Star. Fate was on his side, because he met the late songwriter Ted Daffan (1912-1996; "Born to Lose," "I'm a Fool to Care"), who heard something in the kid's songs and took him under his wing to become the Nashville newcomer’s mentor.  "Whatever Ted said, I listened to, because he was successful," Harris said.
For the next seven years, Harris held down a job in the grocery business. Coming and going to work, he would write his songs in the car. A few small cuts came his way.
Then, in 1965, Carl Belew gave Harris his first big hit with "Crystal Chandelier" (the song went on to be recorded by many artists such as Pride, Mac Wiseman, Dickey Lee, Floyd Cramer, Johnny Russell and Billie Jo Spears, and in over 40 countries). 
First released by Carl Belew (July 1965; Single Art) it reached #12 on Hot Country Songs.

Harris’ successes were not limited to country music “Crystal Chandelier,” was also recorded by pop artists Vic Dana and Louis Armstrong.

In 1966 Ted Harris was Grammy Nominated for Best Country Song for "Crystal Chandelier" performed by Charley Pride.

Crystal Chandeliers
(Ted Harris)
Oh, the crystal chandeliers light up the paintings on your wall
The marble statuettes are standing stately in the hall
But will the timely crowd that has you laughing loud help you dry your tears
When the new wears off of your crystal chandeliers.

I never did fit in too well with the folks you knew
And it's plain to see that the likes of me don't fit with you
So you traded me for the gaiety of the well to do
And you turned away from the love I offered you.

As his star rose, Harris co-founded his own publishing company, and his songs were recorded by the likes of Dottie West, Ferlin Husky ("Once"; Capitol Records ‎– 5775; Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM; 1967), Charley Pride ("The Happiness of Havin’ You”), Roy Drusky, Kitty Wells ("Once"; LP: Love Makes The World Go Around), Jack Greene ("Yesterday's Letters"; LP: Statue Of A Fool; Decca ‎– DL-75124; 1969), Jeannie Seely and Glen Campbell with special guest Steve Wariner on “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” (Rules The World).

Another classic from Harris’ pen was “Paper Mansions,” recorded most successfully by Dottie West, who had a Top 10 hit with it in 1967. Within a two-year span, it was also recorded by Kitty Wells, Warner Mack, Lynn Anderson (LP: Promises, Promises; 1968), Margie Singleton and Jean Shepard.

You and Me Against the World” written by Harris became a hit for Bobby Lord in 1970 reaching #15 on Hot Country Songs. This song has also been recorded by Roy Rogers, and as a duet by Jimmy Dean & Dottie West (1970) and Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely (1973).

By the end of the 1970s, he'd racked up 87 SESAC Awards, several NSAI Outstanding Achievement Awards and 120 cuts by major artists. Unusual for Nashville, then as today, Harris wrote by himself. He tried collaborating, but found that other writers didn't always agree with his standard for what made a great song. Simply stated, Harris defined that standard like this: "You find an idea, and you become a slave to that idea until you make it as absolutely amazing as you can."
Harris, uncommon in that he wrote almost all of his hits solo, called his 1990 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame "a mountain-top experience."

  • He retired in 2001 and sold his publishing company to Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
  • He remained active on the Nashville scene, occasionally playing at songwriter showcases, writing and performing occasionally, but he was more excited about finding homes for what he calls the "lost treasures of his back catalog."
  • Ted Harris is survived by wife Jackie, by sons Bradley and Joshua and by three grandchildren.
Visitation was scheduled for Nov. 24th at the London Funeral Home in Lewisburg, Tennessee (4:00-8:00 p.m). The funeral service took place on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at the East Commerce Baptist Church in Lewisburg.

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