Billy Sherrill, the Nashville producer who pioneered the lush “Countrypolitan” sound and worked with many of country’s great artists, has died. He was 78 years old, The Tennessean reports. According to his daughter, Sherrill passed away this morning “following a short illness.”
Sherrill was born in Alabama and moved to Nashville in the early ’60s, where he became an in-house producer for Epic Records. He began working with artists such as David Houston, Charlie Rich, the Staple Singers, George Jones, and Tammy Wynette, who he’s credited with discovering. He produced and co-wrote Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” and produced Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “The Grand Tour”, among many other classic songs.
Later in his career, Sherrill worked with artists like Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello (on Costello’s Almost Blue LP), and Ray Charles (on Charles’ Friendship LP). In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.