Joe South

Induction Year: 1979

Birth Name: Joseph Alfred Souter

Birth Date: 02-28-1942

Place of Birth: Atlanta, Georgia

Death Date: 09-05-2012

Place of Death: Atlanta, Georgia

Enigmatic and soulful, Joe South was a Grammy-winning songwriter and performing artist who penned Lynn Anderson's signature hit, "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden."

Born Joseph Souter in Atlanta, South began playing music professionally while still a teenager, joining steel guitar great Pete Drake's band in 1957. Rock & roll legend Gene Vincent's recording of "I Might Have Known" was South's first major cut as a songwriter, and in 1961 he moved to Nashville, where he quickly became known for his acumen as an instrumentalist. He would go on to play guitar in recording sessions for Aretha Franklin, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and others.

South soon returned to Atlanta, though, where he wrote and produced pop hits for the Tams ("Untie Me," 1962) and Billy Joe Royal ("Down in the Boondocks," a #9 pop hit in 1965). Royal had several other successes with South-penned songs, including "I Knew You When," which would be revived as a Top 10 pop hit by young Donny Osmond in the early 1970s, and again as a Top 40 hit in 1982 for Linda Ronstadt.

By the late 1960s, South was focusing on a solo career. He recorded his Introspect album for Capitol Records in 1968. The following year, one of its cuts, "Games People Play," would become a #12 pop hit for the writer and a #2 country hit for Freddy Weller as well as one of the most popular songs of the year. "Games People Play" wound up winning Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Song and for overall Song of the Year.

Follow-ups "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home" and "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" were nearly equally well received, proving hugely popular among a wide range of performers and audiences. But it was "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" — first recorded on Introspect as "Rose Garden" — that became South's most enduring songwriting success. Anderson's version was a worldwide hit that topped country charts, landed at #3 on the pop chart and earned Anderson a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

Although Anderson climbed back up the country chart again in 1971 with South's "Fool Me" and "How Can I Unlove You," the songwriter soon retreated from the spotlight. He released the Midnight Rainbows album on Island Records in 1975 but spent most of his life's final 35 years out of the public eye.

"(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden"

BMI Country Song of the Year

Billy Joe Royal1967  
Joe South1968  
Dobie Gray1969  
Lynn Anderson1970 #1 country,#3 pop,#5 adult contemporary
Kitty Wells1971  
Loretta Lynn1971  
Glen Campbell1971  
Johnny Mathis1971  
Andy Williams1971  
Boots Randolph1971  
Dottie West1971  
Carol Burnett1972  
k. d. lang1987  
Martina McBride2005 #18 country,#98 pop

"All My Hard Times"

Joe South1968  
Roy Drusky1970 #9 country

"Birds of a Feather"

Joe South1968 #106 pop
The Raiders1971 #23 pop
Johnny Nash1977  
Almost Brothers1986 #63 country


Joe South1970 #51 pop

"Don't It Make You Want to Go Home"

Joe South1969 #27 country
Bobby Goldsboro1969  
Brook Benton1970  
Roy Drusky1970  
Ferlin Husky1970  
Jerry Reed1983  
Al Green1984  
Gene Clark & Carla Olson1987  
Butch Baker1987 #51 country

"Down in the Boondocks"

Billy Joe Royal1965 #9 pop
Del Reeves1965  
Penny DeHaven1969 #37 country
Freddy Weller1970 #25 country
Lynn Anderson1970  
Kenny Loggins1978  
Ry Cooder1980  

"Fool Me"

Joe South1971 #78 pop
Lynn Anderson1972 #4 country

"Games People Play"

Grammy for Song of the Year, Grammy for Best Contemporary Song

Joe South1968 #12 pop
Ray Stevens1969  
Ed Ames1969  
Mel Tormé1969  
Della Reese1969  
Dolly Parton1969  
Johnnie Taylor1969  
Freddy Weller1969 #2 country
Bill Anderson1969  
Charlie McCoy1969  
Betty Lavette1970  
Jack Jones1970  
Jim Nabors1970  
Don Gibson1970  
Barbara Mandrell1971  
Dionne Warwick1972  
Jerry Lee Lewis1973  
Georgia Satellites1989  
Don Williams1995 
Jools Holland & Marc Almond2006  

"Gone Gone Gone"

Gene Vincent1963  

"How Can I Unlove You"

Lynn Anderson1971 #1 country


Billy Joe Royal1967 #52 pop
Deep Purple1968 #4 pop
Joe South1970  
Jeannie C. Riley1973 #51 country
Dan Baird1996  
Kula Shaker1997  

"I Knew You When"

Billy Joe Royal1965 #14 pop
Donny Osmond1972 #9 pop
Linda Ronstadt1982 #37 pop

"I Might Have Known"

Gene Vincent1959  

"Leaning on You"

Joe South1969 #104 pop

"Old Bridges Burn Slow"

Billy Joe Royal1987 #11 country

"The Greatest Love"

Billy Joe Royal1967  
Joe South1968  
B. J. Thomas1970  
Jerry Wallace1971  
Aaron Neville1977  

"Untie Me"

The Tams1962 

"Walk a Mile in My Shoes"

Joe South1970 #3 adult contemporary
Mack Vickery1970  
Elvis Presley1970  
Jerry Lee Lewis1973  
Bryan Ferry1974  


Billy Joe Royal1966 #117 pop
Joe South1971  
The Osmonds1971 #3 pop

Joe South

Induction Year: 1979