Hit Songwriter Glenn Ray Passes

Country songwriter Glenn Ray passed away on Thursday (June 11) at the age of 82.

He is best known as the writer of the John Anderson hit “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories.” Released in late 1981, it became a top 10 hit in 1982.

The song first charted for Bobby Wright in 1975. Cal Smith hit No. 15 with it in 1977. “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories” has also been recorded by Tim Barrett (1984) and Jack Scott (2015).

His other big song occurred when Barbara Mandrell had a No. 12 hit with “Hold Me” in 1977.

Glenn Ray also wrote “Til a Better Memory Comes Along,” which has been recorded by Shelby Lynne (1990), Mark Chesnutt (1993) and Gene Watson (2009).

His song “Yesterday Will Come Again Tonight” was recorded by Leroy Van Dyke (1972) and Loretta Lynn (1973).

During his years in Nashville, Ray co-wrote with Ed Bruce and Tim Mensy, among others. He was the cousin of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Ted Harris, who mentored him. Glenn Ray was affiliated with SESAC.

Music Row song publishing executive Sherrill Blackman recalls the songwriter as being a somewhat colorful figure. He was known as “Gator,” reportedly because he had been a game warden in Florida who could catch alligators by hand, without using a snare.

Blackman believes he was also a sideman who toured with several top country artists in the 1970s.

The songwriter’s full name was Glenn Ray McGuirt. He died in Newton Grove, NC. He is survived by wife Edna Williams McGuirt, son Curtis, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Arrangements are being handled by West & Dunn Funeral Home in Newton Grove, NC.


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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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