Billy Sherrill

Induction Year: 1984

Birth Name: Billy Norris Sherrill

Birth Date: 11-05-1936

Place of Birth: Phil Campbell, Alabama

Death Date: 08-04-2015

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

Billy Sherrill is commonly known as the architect of the elegant "countrypolitan" sound of the late 1960s and 1970s, but he's also among the most successful songwriters in country music history. Sherrill has written five songs that have been performed more than a million times, including David Houston's "Almost Persuaded," Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" and Charlie Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl."

"Billy Sherrill is a genius," George Jones has said more than once, and Jones isn't alone in his profound respect for a man who was country music's dominant songwriting and production force of the 1970s. Sherrill produced Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which many consider the finest country single ever made. But production skills aren't considered in songwriter halls of fame, and had Sherrill never produced a record he would be ranked with country's great writers.

Sherrill won two best country song Grammys (for Houston's "Almost Persuaded" and Rich's "A Very Special Love Song") and two CMA best country song prizes (for Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl" and Wynette's "'Til I Can Make It on My Own." He wrote 18 songs that reached #1 on the Billboard country chart.

"With him, it has to be real," said Joe Chambers, who wrote for Sherrill's publishing company and worked for him at Epic Records. "He wanted you to write something with the words you'd hear if you were eavesdropping on a conversation."

The son of an evangelist, Sherrill played in rock & roll and R&B bands in Alabama before moving to Nashville. He joined Epic Records in the Nashville A&R department in 1963 and worked as a producer to establish a lavish sound that retained a country heartbeat but was capable of capturing urban ears. He saw songwriting as part-and-parcel of producing, creating songs to fit his artists, their personalities and their public images. He frequently enlisted others to help with the songwriting, including Glenn Sutton and Norro Wilson, but never acquiescing to any notion that didn't fit within his plan for the song or the artist. And he paid no mind to anyone else's ideas about what constituted "traditional country." But even when eschewing traditional country music, he created classic country music.

"I heard the guff, mostly from disc jockeys and wannabe types," he told The Tennessean in 2008, referring to complaints about his productions not being "country" enough. "Apparently, the fans liked it. They bought it."

"'Til I Can Make It on My Own"

(written with George Richey, Tammy Wynette)

CMA Song of the Year

Tammy Wynette1976 #1 country, #84 pop
Kenny Rogers & Dottie West1979 #3 country
Faron Young1988 
Martina McBride1998 
Billy Gilman2000 
Kate Campbell2003 
 

"(I'm a) Stand by My Woman Man"

(written with Kent Robbins, Tammy Wynette)

Ronnie Milsap1976 #1 country
 

"A Very Special Love Song"

(written with Norro Wilson)

Grammy for Best Country Song

Charlie Rich1974 #1 country

"Almost Persuaded"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Grammy for Best Country Song, BMI Country Song of the Year

David Houston1966 #1 country, #24 pop
Patti Page1966 #20 adult contemporary
Sheb Wooley (Ben Colder)1966 #6 country, #58 pop
George Jones1967 
Etta James1969 #24 pop, #32 R&B
Merle Haggard1987 #58 country
 

"Another Lonely Song"

(written with Tammy Wynette, Norro Wilson)

Tammy Wynette1973 #1 country
Andy Williams1974 
Lorrie Morgan2005 
 

"Bedtime Story"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Tammy Wynette1972 #1 country, #86 pop
 

"Have a Little Faith"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1968 #1 country, #98 pop
 

"He Loves Me All the Way"

(written with Carmol Taylor, Norro Wilson)

Tammy Wynette1970 #1 country, #97 pop
 

"I Don't Wanna Play House"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Tammy Wynette1967 #1 country
Kitty Wells1968 
Loretta Lynn1968 
Skeeter Davis1968 
Sara Evans1998 
 

"I'll See Him Through"

(written with Norro Wilson)

Tammy Wynette1970 #2 country, #100 pop
 

"I'm Down to My Last 'I Love You'"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1969 #3 country
 

"Kids Say the Darndest Things"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Tammy Wynette1973 #1 country
 

"Livin' in a House Full of Love"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1965 #3 country
 

"Loser's Cathedral"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1966 #3 country

"My Elusive Dreams"

(written with Curly Putnam)

David Houston & Tammy Wynette1967 #1 country
Jack Greene1967 
Roger Miller1968 
Tom Jones1968 
Bobby Vinton1970 #27 country
Bill Anderson1970 
George Jones & Tammy Wynette1973 
Andy Williams1974 
Charlie Rich1975 #3 country
 

"My Man"

(written with Carmol Taylor, Norro Wilson)

Tammy Wynette1972 #1 country
 

"My Woman's Good to Me"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1969 #4 country
 

"Singing My Song"

(written with Glenn Sutton, Tammy Wynette)

Tammy Wynette1969 #1 country, #75 pop
Lynn Anderson1969 
Tommy Cash1969 
Jimmy Dean1971 
Vikki Carr1997 
 

"Soul Song"

(written with George Richardson, Norro Wilson)

Joe Stampley1973 #1 country

"Stand by Your Man"

(written with Tammy Wynette)

Tammy Wynette1968 #1 country, #11 adult contemporary, #19 pop
Timi Yuro1969 
Lynn Anderson1969 
Bobby Vinton1969 
Kitty Wells1969 
Billie Jo Spears1969 
Dottie West1969 
Loretta Lynn1969 
Tracy Nelson1969 
Candi Staton1970 #4 R&B, #24 pop
Wanda Jackson1970 
Patti Page1970 
Henry Mancini1970 
Jody Miller1971 
Boots Randolph1972 
David Allan Coe1981 #88 country
Motorhead1984 
Lyle Lovett1989 #82 country
Roseanne Barr1990 
Tina Turner1991 
Erasure1992 
Elton John1998 
Queen Esther2004 
Daniel O'Donnell2005 
 

"Take Me to Your World"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Tammy Wynette1968 #1 country
George Jones1998 

"The Most Beautiful Girl"

(written with Rory Bourke, Norro Wilson)

CMA Song of the Year

Joe Stampley1973 
Charlie Rich1973 #1 country, #1 pop, #1 adult contemporary
Andy Williams1974 
Perry Como1974 
Isley Brothers1985 
Julio Iglesias2006 
 

"Tonight My Baby's Coming Home"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Barbara Mandrell1971 #10 country
 

"Too Far Gone"

Joe Stampley1973 #12 country
Emmylou Harris1979 #13 country
 

"We Can Make It"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

George Jones1972 #6 country
 

"With One Exception"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1967 #1 country
 

"You Mean the World to Me"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

David Houston1967 #1 country, #75 pop
 

"You and Me"

(written with George Richey)

Tammy Wynette1976 #1 country
Lorrie Morgan1998 
 

"Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad"

(written with Glenn Sutton)

Tammy Wynette1967 #3 country
Lynn Anderson1969 
Wanda Jackson1970 
K. T. Oslin1998 

Billy Sherrill

Induction Year: 1984