Cowboy Jack Clement, a legendary figure in Nashville as a producer, arranger, songwriter and performer, died this morning after battling liver cancer, The Tennessean reports. He was 82.
Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this year, Clement leaves behind a remarkable legacy in country music. He was close friends with Johnny Cash, for whom he wrote "Guess Things Happen That Way" and arranged the horns on "Ring of Fire." At Sun Records in the 1950s, he was the first producer to record Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. He helped integrate country music by introducing the singer Charley Pride, produced Waylon Jennings' outlaw classic Dreaming My Dreams and co-produced several tracks on U2's Rattle and Hum.
Clement, who was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973, was the subject of a 2005 documentary, Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan. Most recently he was heard as a DJ on Sirius XM Satellite Radio's Outlaw Country channel on Saturday afternoons.
"One of my favorite people on the planet," Kris Kristofferson said recently of Clement. "An amazing character. Totally supportive of the right things in music, and funny on top of it."