LifeNotes: Music Man Doug Gilmore Passes

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• April 13, 2015
doug gilmore

Doug Gilmore

Doug Gilmore — who made his mark as a songwriter, TV producer and artist manager — passed away in Nashville on April 3 at the age of 78.

He was associated with such singer-songwriters as Mickey Newbury, Roger Miller, Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell and Sonny Curtis. Gilmore co-wrote such country hits as “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye” (Jerry Lee Lewis) and “What Am I Gonna Do About You” (Reba McEntire).

Douglas Carl Gilmore was born in Wichita, Kan., in 1936. He played football at Vanderbilt University and was on the team that won the Gator Bowl in 1955. He graduated in 1958.
After college, he signed a management deal with Roger Miller. When Miller moved to the West Coast in 1963, Gilmore accompanied him. As a songwriter, Doug Gilmore began collaborating with Miller’s drummer and Crickets veteran J.I. Allison.

In 1968, Gilmore collaborated with Mickey Newbury on “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye.” Jerry Lee Lewis had a big country hit with the song the following year, and it has been recorded by dozens of others, including Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Don Gibson, Hank Snow, Del Shannon, Charlie Louvin, Lonnie Mack, Brook Benton, Ed Bruce, Jack Greene and Swamp Dogg.

Meanwhile, in California, Gilmore produced music for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (CBS, 1971-77), as well as for the solo TV shows of both Sonny (ABC, 1974) and Cher (CBS, 1975-76).

In 1973-74, NBC aired Dean Martin Presents Music Country as a weekly series. Doug Gilmore produced 19 one-hour episodes of this, which featured country artists performing their hits on location in scenic spots around the nation. Charlie Rich, Tanya Tucker, Jerry Reed, Mac Davis, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Johnny Rodriguez, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Tom T. Hall and Lynn Anderson were among those he showcased.

As a music director and producer, Gilmore also worked with John Denver during the 1970s. He reportedly also collaborated with noted soundtrack and musical-comedy composer Meredith Willson and with songwriters including Bobby Russell, Grant Boatwright, Billy Burnette, Bobby Lee Springfield, Larry Henley, Billy Ray Reynolds and Randy Sharp.

In 1987, Reba McEntire had a No. 1 hit with “What Am I Gonna Do About You,” which Gilmore co-wrote with Jim Allison and Bob Simon. He co-wrote several songs with John Brannen for the latter’s debut Mercury Records LP, 1988’s Mystery Street. Mickey Gilley had a 1986 top-10 hit with his co-written “Doo Wah Days.”

Dude Mowrey (1991) and Daron Norwood (1994) both charted with Gilmore’s co-written “Cowboys Don’t Cry.” Ray Stevens charted with his “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” in 1982. Other Gilmore songs were recorded by Johnny Paycheck, The Crickets, Tom Jones, Fleetwood Mac, Waylon Jennings and Lee Hazelwood, among others. He has a total of 192 titles registered with BMI.

In later years, Gilmore and his co-writer Gary Vincent produced various blues festivals in Clarksdale, Miss. He also worked with actor Morgan Freeman on a 2008 blues documentary broadcast.

Doug Gilmore is survived by Winifred Holcomb, brother James, aunt Juanita, daughter Kellye and by sons Charlie Holcomb, Calvin Houghland and Mason Houghland, as well as his cousins.

The family will receive friends at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 14. Visitation begins at 2:30 p.m. with a celebration of his life beginning at 4:00 p.m. The building is at 9090 Highway 100, Nashville, TN 37221.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Doug Gilmore’s name may be made to New Leash on Life, 507 Jim Draper Blvd., Lebanon, TN 37087.

 

 

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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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