LifeNotes: Scotty Turner

A Nashville memorial service was held this morning, Feb. 18, for the multi-faceted music industry figure Scotty Turner. Nashville Association of Talent Directors president Rod Harris announced Turner’s death at the NATD’s monthly meeting last week.

Turner was a musician, record producer, label executive, music publisher and songwriter. Early in his career, he was the lead guitarist for Tommy Sands, Guy Mitchell and Eddie Fisher. He then became a producer at A&M Records in Los Angeles. His songs were recorded by the label’s Tijuana Brass and The Baja Marimba Band.

His first publishing job was as the general manager of Central Songs, also in Los Angeles. He then became the head of the country division of United Artists Records, which brought him from the West Coast to Nashville. As a record producer, he worked with Slim Whitman, Jimmy Bryant, Del Reeves and Jimmy Clanton. He is particularly associated with Jim Cartwright, whom he worked with for 23 years.

Turner was the writer of more than 400 songs recorded by Eddy Arnold, Nilsson, Dean Martin, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dean, Wanda Jackson, Wynn Stewart, Red Simpson, The Del Vikings, Robert Gordon, Skeets McDonald and Gene Vincent among many others. As a songwriter, one of his most notable collaborators was the late Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II and the star of dozens of Hollywood films. Other co-writers included Buddy Holly, Herb Alpert, Nilsson, Doc Pomas, Red Lane, Alex Harvey, Cliffie Stone and Mac Davis.

Turner’s biggest hits include “Shutters and Boards” (Jerry Wallace, 1962 & Slim Whitman, 1970), “When the Wind Blows in Chicago” (Roy Clark, 1965), “Hicktown” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1965), “Little Pink Mack” (Kay Adams, 1966), “Your Forevers Don’t Last Very Long” (Jean Shepard, 1967) and “Trucker’s Prayer” (Dave Dudley, 1967). He was also the author of the book Song Publisher’s Perspective.

He was born Graham Morrison Turnbull in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He died while visiting his son in upstate New York on Feb. 9 at age 77. He is survived by his son, Trevor; daughter, Adrienne (Jeffery) Cullen; granddaughter, Eve; and former wife, Diane Iungano (Jackson).

The Nashville service took place at Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home’s Dignity Hall at 11:30 AM. Memorials may be made to Marathon For A Better Life, PO Box 268, Warnerville, NY 12187 or to a Nashville Cancer Charity of your choice.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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