LifeNotes: Ronnie Gant Passes

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HoriPro executives Butch Baker, Kaz Hori, Ronnie Gant, and Bob Beckham celebrating the HoriPro Nashville office’s 20th anniversary in 2010.

Ronnie Gant, a 40+ year member of Nashville’s music industry, died Saturday, Jan. 4. Gant was 69.

For 22 years, Gant was associated with music publishing company Acuff-Rose, and is credited with bringing the Oak Ridge Boys a tune that would become one of the group’s signature hits.

“The music industry lost another giant this week,” said The Oak Ridge Boys’ Duane Allen via Twitter. “RIP, Ronnie Gant, and thank you for bringing us great songs like ‘Elvira.'”  The story goes that Gant, then a song plugger for Acuff-Rose, heard a bar band in Texas performing “Elvira,” and thought it would be a perfect fit for Oak Ridge Boys members Joe Bonsall’s and Richard Sterban’s voices. He presented the song to the Oak Ridge Boys’ producer, Ron Chancey.

During his time at Acuff-Rose/Opryland, Gant was responsible for signing writers including Skip Ewing, David Chamberlain, Patty Loveless, and Donny Kees. He also placed songs including “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” for George Strait, “Thank God For Kids” for The Oak Ridge Boys, and “Darlene” for T. Graham Brown.

Gant opened his own publishing company in 1988, and in 1990, the R. Gant Music Group’s song “Friends In Low Places” was recorded by Garth Brooks. The song went on to win the CMA’s “Single of the Year” honor in 1991, and was included on Brooks’ No Fences album.

Additionally, Gant’s producing skills can be heard on projects by Eddie Raven, Lorrie Morgan, Don Gibson and songwriter Mickey Newbury.

Gant was hired by Bob Beckham in 2001 to lead HoriPro’s creative team in Nashville. Gant worked alongside Butch Baker, Kaz Hori, and Beckham, who died in November 2013.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cole & Garrett Funeral Home in Goodlettsville .

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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