Songwriter Larry W. Johnson Passes

“Don’t Take the Girl” co-writer Larry W. Johnson died on June 16 at age 69.

The song was a massive hit in 1994 for Tim McGraw, becoming the singer’s first No. 1 smash. The record also rose to No. 17 on the pop hit parade.

“Don’t Take the Girl” was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA for sales in excess of two million units. It won Johnson and his co-writer Craig Martin BMI Awards. It inspired a parody, “Please Take the Girl,” which was on the debut Cledus T. Judd album in 1995.

Johnson had more than 50 other titles registered with BMI. His co-written “If You Think You’re Lonely” was recorded by Ray Price in 2002.

Larry Wayne Johnson passed away in Ashland City, Tennessee. He is survived by wife Becky, as well as sons Joshua and Christopher Johnson plus Shane and Joshua Davis, daughter Ginnifer Line and nine grandchildren.

Condolences can be sent to Cheatham County Funeral Home online at The burial will be private, for family, at Neptune-Smith Cemetery in Ashland City. A celebration of life for Larry W. Johnson will be held at a later date.


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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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