Songwriting Great Jan Crutchfield Dies

Hit songwriter Jan Crutchfield passed away on Thursday, October 30 at the age of 74.

During his career, Crutchfield earned seven BMI Awards and was twice nominated for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His “Statue of a Fool” was a top-10 hit three different times.

A native of Paducah, KY, Jan Crutchfield emerged on Nashville’s country-music scene in the early 1960s. In 1963, Faron Young sang the first of the songwriter’s many subsequent country hits, “Down By the River” and “We’ve Got Something in Common.” In 1965, Perry Como took Crutchfield’s “Dream on Little Dreamer” onto the pop hit parade.

Bonnie Guitar scored with his “I’m Living in Two Worlds” in 1966, and the song went on to be recorded by at least eight other stars, including Loretta Lynn and Dinah Shore. Charley Pride sang Crutchfield’s “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger” into the country top-10 in 1967.

In that same year, Wilma Burgess introduced the songwriter’s melodic “Tear Time.” It was revived and taken to No. 1 by Dave & Sugar in 1978 and re-recorded by K.T. Oslin in 1996.

The classic “Statue of a Fool” became one of Jack Greene’s signature songs in 1967, when it became a No. 1 hit. He continues to sing it on Grand Ole Opry broadcasts today. Brian Collins returned the song to the country top-10 in 1974, and it became a major hit a third time when sung by Ricky Van Shelton in 1989.

Jean Shepard (1970’s “Another Lonely Night”), Wanda Jackson (1971’s “Fancy Satin Pillows”), Faron Young (1972’s “This Little Girl of Mine”) and Tanya Tucker (1977’s “Ridin’ Rainbows”) kept Jan Crutchfield’s songs on the charts during the 1970s.

Lee Greenwood revived the songwriter’s fortunes in the 1980s by recording the Crutchfield-penned “It Turns Me Inside Out” (1981), “She’s Lying” (1982) and “Going, Going, Gone” (1984). Both Tucker and Greenwood were produced by Jan Crutchfield’s brother, Jerry Crutchfield.

The songwriter’s last charted title was 1985’s “It Should Have Been Love by Now,” a duet by Barbara Mandrell and Greenwood. But he continued to have songs recorded in the 1990s, such as 1993’s “Heartaches on Parade” by Cleve Francis. Even more recently, Ray Price recorded the Jan Crutchfield tune “You Just Don’t Love Me Anymore” in 2002.

Jan Crutchfield is survived by daughters Rose Lynn Newberry, Janalyn Bornstein and Holly Jo Walker; by brothers Jon Thomas and Jerry Don Crutchfield; by sisters Julia Lee Emberton, Jean Ann Crutchfield and Jane Ella Merry; and by five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A celebration of life will begin at 2 p.m. today [Monday] at Williamson Memorial Funeral Homeat 3009 Columbia Ave. in Franklin. Visitation will be held there from noon to 2 p.m.


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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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