Nicknamed "Cowboy," Jack Clement has had a wide-ranging music career
encompassing record producing, song publishing, studio ownership, film
production and record label operations, as well as hit songwriting. Born in
Memphis, Jack Clement worked in Boston, Wheeling and Washington, D.C., as a
country and bluegrass musician in the early 1950s. He first gained fame at Sun
Records in Memphis in 1956. There, he engineered and produced records and wrote
songs for Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and others. His earliest hits as a
writer include Cash's "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That
Clement moved to Nashville and became an assistant to Chet Atkins at RCA
Records. With partner Bill Hall, Clement formed Hall-Clement Publishing and
Jack & Bill Music in 1961. There, he launched the careers of songwriters Jerry
Foster and Bill Rice. During this period, Clement also wrote the country
standard "Just Someone I Used to Know." During a stint in the Houston-Beaumont
area, he produced the big Dickey Lee pop hit "Patches."
Returning to Nashville in 1965, he launched the career of Charley Pride by
getting him signed to RCA, producing his records and writing the hits that
established him on the charts. He resumed producing records and writing songs
for Johnny Cash. He also filled these roles for MGM Records artists the
Stonemans and Tompall & the Glaser Brothers.
In 1970, Clement opened his own recording studio and produced the horror film
Dear Dead Delilah. The following year, he formed the record label JMI
Records (Jack Music Inc.). This company launched the career of Don Williams and
boosted the songwriting fortunes of Reynolds, Williams, Bob McDill and Wayland
Jack Clement had recorded singles for Sun Records in the 1950s, and he resumed
his recording career with the 1978 LP All I Want to Do in Life on
Elektra Records. He continued to produce records for a wide variety of other
artists, including Louis Armstrong, Waylon Jennings, Doc Watson, U2, John
Hartford, polka king Frank Yankovic and Eddy Arnold. He also became one of
Nashville's music-video pioneers.
He recorded a second solo album, Guess Things Happen That Way, in 2004.
His Cowboy Jack's Home Movies was named Best Documentary at the 2005
Nashville Film Festival. In 2007, he released the home movie DVD Shakespeare
Was a Big George Jones Fan.