Ted Harris, who penned memorable country hits for Dottie West, Charley Pride and dozens of other artists, died Sunday, November 22nd, at his home in Lewisburg, Tennessee, according to MusicRow.com. Elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1990, Harris was the most awarded country songwriter in the history of performing-rights organization SESAC. He was 78.
Harris grew up in Lakeland, Florida, and moved to Nashville at age 20. In 1959, Hank Snow scored a Top Ten hit with the Harris song “Chasin’ a Rainbow” and would also cut his tune “My Lucky Friend.” For Charley Pride, Harris wrote “The Happiness of Having You” and the major hit “Crystal Chandelier.” Other cuts included Dottie West’s “Paper Mansions,” Ferlin Husky’s “Once” and the Glen Campbell and Steve Wariner hit “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” a Number Six duet by the guitar-playing icons in 1987.
Harris was one of the earliest members of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), joining in 1968. The following year, he won the first of four consecutive SESAC awards as Country Songwriter of the Year. In 1970, his composition “You and Me Against the World” was a hit for Bobby Lord.
Among the many other artists who recorded Harris’s songs are Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Crystal Gayle, Charlie Rich, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner and Connie Smith.