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Country and Rock Songwriter Paul Craft Dead at 76

10/21/2014
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(Radio.com) Paul Craft, a noted country and rock songwriter and member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, died this past weekend on Oct. 18. He was 76.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, Craft died Saturday at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital after years of health issues. Craft wrote songs for such country artists as Bobby Bare, Mark Chesnutt, Ray Stevens, Alison Krauss, Skeeter Davis, Trisha Yearwood, Moe Bandy and Gail Davies. Songs of his also earned a spot on albums by such rock artists as the Eagles ("Midnight Flyer" from On the Border) and Linda Rondstadt ("Keep Me from Blowing Away" from Heart Like a Wheel).

"Keep Me from Blowing Away" was among Craft's better-known songs, having been cut by not only Ronstadt but Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and bluegrass group the Seldom Scene, who actually recorded the song first.

"Linda Ronstadt met John Starling, who's in the Seldom Scene," Craft explained during a 2012 video interview. "He sang her 'Keep Me from Blowing Away.' And she said, 'I want to do that!'"

Another notable Craft song is "Brother Jukebox," a hit for Mark Chesnutt in 1991 (though it was originally recorded by Don Everly of the Everly Brothers in 1977).

Craft was also nominated twice in the same year (1977) for a GRAMMY for two more of his best-known songs "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life" and "Dropkick Me, Jesus (through the goal posts of life)." The latter was a top 20 country hit in 1976 for Bobby Bare.

"He was sittin' in a bar in Memphis and heard a guy say that," singer T. Graham Brown said during a recent performance (in a video posted to YouTube), talking about how Craft came to write "Dropkick Me Jesus." Then he "went and wrote it."

Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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