Jerry Chesnut

Induction Year: 1996

Birth Name: Jerry Donald Chesnut

Birth Date: 05-07-1931

Place of Birth: Loyall, Kentucky

Death Date: 12-15-2018

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

Kentucky native Jerry Chesnut's rise to songwriting prominence is a story of perseverance and dedication. He grew up playing and singing country music in the coal camps of eastern Kentucky. Following a stint in the Air Force, he settled in Florida. For seven years, he performed on local radio stations and taught himself to write songs while working as a railroad conductor.

He moved to Nashville in 1958 to pursue his musical dreams. His early efforts in Music City were fruitless, so he sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door, then rose to become a three-state distributor of the products. He kept writing and pitching his songs unsuccessfully for nine years before Del Reeves recorded Chesnut's "A Dime at a Time" in 1967. By the 1970s, the songwriter's works were making the country popularity charts regularly.

Jerry Chesnut recorded some singles for United Artists Records in the early 1970s, but these were not hits. However, he did find success as a TV personality. His comedic talent, natural wit and musical ability led to a season as a regular on the national television series Hee Haw in 1971. He was named Billboard magazine's Country Songwriter of the Year in 1972. He retired from the music business in 1980 but continued to make occasional performing appearances.

Jerry Chesnut's songs have been recorded by many of the biggest stars in music. George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton, Elvis Costello, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, Tom Jones and Hank Williams Jr. are just a few who have had success with his compositions. In 2010, Chesnut's song "T-R-O-U-B-L-E," a hit for Elvis Presley and later for Travis Tritt, was certified by BMI as having been performed more than four million times.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, and he has his own exhibit in the Kentucky Music Museum at Renfro Valley. The portion of Kentucky State Highway 840 that runs through his hometown in Loyall has been named in his honor.

"A Dime at a Time"

Del Reeves1967 #12 country
Steep Canyon Rangers2005 

"A Good Year for the Roses"

George Jones1970 #2 country
Elvis Costello1981 
Lorrie Morgan & Sammy Kershaw1994 
Alan Jackson & George Jones1994 #56 country
Johnny Paycheck2002 

"After You"

Hank Williams Jr.1973 #23 country
George Jones1973 
Pat Boone1973 

"Another Place, Another Time"

Jerry Lee Lewis1968 #4 country
Del Reeves1968 
Jack Greene1969 
Leon Ashley1969 
Hank Williams Jr.1971 
Ronnie & Rob McCoury1995 

"Bar Room Talk"

Del Reeves1971 #30 country

"Best Way I Know How"

Mel Tillis1975 #7 country

"Don't She Look Good"

Bill Anderson1972 #2 country
Ernest Tubb1973 
Eddy Arnold2005 

"Good Time Charley's"

Del Reeves1969 #3 country
George Strait2001 

"Holding on to Nothing"

Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton1968 #7 country
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn1969 
Dale Ann Bradley2006 
Marty Stuart2012 

"If It Feels Good, Do It"

Dave Dudley1972 #14 country

"If Not for You"

George Jones1969 #6 country
Jack Greene1969 
Kitty Wells1969 
Bobby Wright1975 #73 country

"It's Four in the Morning"

Faron Young1972 #1 country, #92 pop
Eddy Arnold1972 
Ernest Tubb1972 
Kitty Wells1972 
Hank Snow1973 
Hank Thompson1973 
Tom Jones1985 #36 country
Willie Nelson & Faron Young1985 

"It's Midnight"

(written with Billy Edd Wheeler)

Elvis Presley1975 #9 country
Jose Feliciano2012 

"Land Mark Tavern"

Del Reeves & Penny DeHaven1970 #20 country

"Looking at the World Through a Windshield"

(written with Mike Hoyer)

Del Reeves1968 #5 country
Warner Mack1969 
Commander Cody1972 
Son Volt1996 

"No More Hanging On"

Jerry Lee Lewis1973 #19 country

"One Run for the Roses"

Cal Smith1976 
Narvel Felts1978 #26 country


Johnny Cash1972 #2 country

"Pride's Not Hard to Swallow"

Hank Williams Jr.1972 #3 country
Mark Chesnutt1995 

"Right Back Loving You Again"

Del Reeves1970 #22 country


Elvis Presley1975 #11 country, #35 pop
Wayne Newton1985 
The Nighthawks1991 
Travis Tritt1992 #13 country
B. J. Thomas2007 

"Take a Little Good Will Home"

Del Reeves & Bobby Goldsboro1969 #31 country

"The Wonders You Perform"

Tammy Wynette1970 #5 country
Jean Shepard1970 
Ornella Vanoni1971 
Connie Smith1974 
Rio - The Voice of Elvis with The Stamps2016 

"They Don't Make 'Em Like My Daddy "

Loretta Lynn1974 #4 country
Cal Smith1974 

"Things for You and I"

(written with Henry Earl Sinks)

Bobby Lewis1969 #25 country

"Weakness in a Man"

Roy Drusky1968 #18 country
Waylon Jennings1968 
Roy Clark1968 
Brook Benton1969 
Jimmy Dean1972 

"What a Way to Go"

Del Reeves1974 #70 country

"When We Tried"

Jan Howard1969 #24 country

"Wild Blood"

Del Reeves1968 #18 country

"Woman Without Love"

Johnny Darrell1968 #20 country
Bob Luman1968 
Ray Price1969 
Bobby Goldsboro1969 
Brook Benton1969 
Joe Simon1973 
Elvis Presley1975 

Jerry Chesnut

Induction Year: 1996