Widely beloved Nashville songwriter Pam Belford passed away last Thursday (4/22) at age 70.
Noted for such songs as George Strait’s “If I Know Me” and “Holding My Own,” Belford was a favorite performer at The Bluebird Café and a longtime employee of the Nashville Public Library.
Pamela Anne Belford was born March 29, 1951. She began showcasing her songs at the Bluebird during “in the round” appearances in the early 1980s, and she remained a steady visitor to the songwriters’ mecca for more than 30 years. She was also a regular at the Commodore Lounge writers’ nights. In addition to her own songs, the petite entertainer was noted for performing witty parodies of others’ hits.
Noted as a skilled lyricist, she began writing poetry when she was nine and playing guitar at age 13 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Belford received the instrument as a Hanukkah present. She recalled that she couldn’t learn others’ songs when she played, so she started writing her own.
Her first publisher in Music City was Peermusic. She got her first cut when pop-music legend Connie Francis recorded “Don’t Tell Me Not to Cry” in 1981. Produced by Harold Shedd, the track was reissued in 2004 and 2020. In 1981, Terri Gibbs became the first country act to record her material.
She co-wrote songs with Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Dean Dillon for five years. Their “If I Know Me” was a No. 1 hit for superstar Strait for two weeks in 1991. The fan favorite “Holding My Own” was the title tune of his 1992 album.
Belford’s other songwriting collaborators included Kent Blazy, Angela Kaset, David Ball, Angel Pontier, Aaron Barker, Jeremy Stover, Billy Dean and John Tirro. But much of her catalog is solo written.
That catalog includes “Sad State of Affairs,” which charted for Leon Everette in 1986. She also had cuts by such country artists as Doug Stone, Linda Jordan, Karen Taylor-Good, Blackcreek, Rich McCready, Renee Wahl, Anna Marie, Susan H. Brantley and Michael Dean Church, as well as Dean Dillon.
In 2015, she released her album Slow Dancing Cowboys & Strawberry Pie, marketing it on her Facebook page.
Pam Belford retired from the Nashville Public Library system five years ago. Details of her death have not been made public, but it was evidently sudden and unexpected. Funeral arrangements were not announced.
Friends and loved ones remember her warmth and kindness. Online tributes can be left here.
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