Roger Murrah

Induction Year: 2005

Birth Name: Roger Murrah

Birth Date: 11-20-1946

Place of Birth: Athens, Alabama

When Roger Murrah was a kid growing up on the family farm in Alabama, his dad traded their pickup truck for an old piano. Roger and his five siblings all learned how to play by ear, and by age 13 he was writing his first songs. After high school, he enlisted in the Army and while serving stateside, moonlighted as a staff songwriter for FAME studios in Muscle Shoals.

After the Army, he opened his own recording studio in Huntsville, and it was there that he met Bobby Bare. The well-known country singer liked Murrah's songs and hired him to write for his publishing company.

Murrah moved to Nashville in 1973 and wrote for Bare, placing a few cuts on his albums, getting his first chart hit with Wynn Stewart's "It's Raining in Seattle" and learning from fellow writers like Dallas Frazier and Curly Putman. But when Bare sold his company to ATV, they didn't pick up Murrah's contract. He moved back to Alabama and ran a grocery store for a year. But he was determined, and his second try in Nashville brought lasting success.

The 1980s found Murrah hitting his stride with country and pop chart-toppers like "Southern Rains" by Mel Tillis, "Life's Highway" by Steve Wariner and "We're in This Love Together" by Al Jarreau, a big pop and adult contemporary hit that helped give Nashville pop credibility. Other artists who cut Murrah's songs in the '80s and '90s included Conway Twitty, Alabama, Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Patty Loveless, Wynonna and Alan Jackson.

In 1987, Murrah collaborated with Waylon Jennings on his autobiographical album A Man Called Hoss, which Jennings performed as a one-man theatrical production.

Murrah's success has had a lot to do with setting the bar high. "I'm always telling my songwriter friends that our goal should be to write an exceptional song every time," Murrah says. "Unfortunately, we all have to write the other ones out of our systems sometimes, so we can hopefully have an occasional exceptional song come along."

Aside from his success as a songwriter, Murrah has also been an astute businessman, running his own publishing house and serving as president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, chairman of Nashville Songwriters Foundation and senior vice president of Bug Music. He has won many BMI Awards, along with a star in the Walk of Fame at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

"A Bridge That Just Won't Burn"

(written with Jim McBride)

Conway Twitty1980 #3 country

"Blue Blooded Woman"

(written with Keith Stegall, Alan Jackson)

Alan Jackson1989 #45 country

"Don't Rock the Jukebox"

(written with Keith Stegall, Alan Jackson)

Alan Jackson1991 #1 country

"Goodbye Time"

(written with James Hicks)

Conway Twitty1988 #7 country
Blake Shelton2005 #10 country

"Hearts Aren't Made to Break (They're Made to Love)"

(written with Steve Dean)

Lee Greenwood1986 #1 country

"High Cotton"

(written with Scott Anders)

Alabama1989 #1 country

"I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)"

(written with Randy VanWarmer)

Alabama1992 #1 country

"If I Could Make a Living"

(written with Keith Stegall, Alan Jackson)

Clay Walker1994 #1 country

"It's a Little Too Late"

(written with Pat Terry)

Tanya Tucker1993 #2 country

"Life's Highway"

(written with Richard Leigh)

Steve Wariner1986 #1 country

"My Rough and Rowdy Days"

(written with Waylon Jennings)

Waylon Jennings1987 #6 country

"My Silver Lining"

Mickey Gilley1979 #8 country

"National Working Woman's Holiday"

(written with Pat Terry, James Hicks)

Sammy Kershaw1994 #2 country

"Only Love"

(written with Marcus Hummon)

Wynonna1993 #3 country

"Ozark Mountain Jubilee"

Oak Ridge Boys1984 #5 country

"Southern Rains"

Mel Tillis1980 #1 country

"Southern Star"

(written with Rich Alves, Steve Dean)

Alabama1989 #1 country

"Stranger Things Have Happened"

(written with Keith Stegall)

Ronnie Milsap1990 #2 country

"We're in This Love Together"

(written with Keith Stegall)

Al Jarreau1981 #6 adult contemporary, #15 pop
Johnny Mathis2008 

"Where Corn Don't Grow"

(written with Mark Allan)

Waylon Jennings1990 #67 country
Travis Tritt1996 #6 country

Roger Murrah

Induction Year: 2005