Jerry McGill, a singer, songwriter and guitarist who recorded for Sun Records, died on Thursday in Alabama at the age of 73. McGill had suffered from cancer and kidney trouble, although no cause of death was announced, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
McGill spent a short period of time at Sun Records, recording a pair of songs, “Lovestruck” and “I Wanna Make Sweet Love,” with his band the Topcoats in 1959. He also began to rack up a long list of criminal offenses during this period and claimed that he was arrested 97 times in Memphis on charges ranging from public drunkenness to armed robbery.
During the late 1960s and 1970s, McGill went out on the road with Waylon Jennings, often working under the pseudonym Curtis Buck as the country star’s rhythm guitarist and road manager, and co-writing songs including “Waymore’s Blues.”
For a long period beginning in the late 1970s, McGill had largely disappeared under a string of criminal charges including illegal weapons possession and attempted murder. He changed his name several times, but reappeared in 2009 to star in “Very Extremely Dangerous,” a feature-length documentary about McGill’s life and his battle against cancer.
“Any way you look at it, he was a felonious character,” Jim Lancaster, who had worked with McGill as a producer and songwriting partner, told the Commercial Appeal. “He was charming – but the kind of charm where he’d smile at you, and then run off with your wife. He really was like the last of the bad-guy cowboys. He was an outlaw down to his soul.”