Songwriter Wayne Kemp Dead at 73
Notable Nashville songwriter and musician Wayne Kemp has passed away at the age of 73.
According to Nashville's The Tennessean newspaper, Kemp died on Monday (March 9) at Macon County General Hospital in Lafayette, Tenn.
The songwriter and musician got his start playing music with his eight siblings, singing and playing guitar beginning at age 6. He was later a regular on a local country TV show in his hometown of Greenwood, Ark., where he played with artists including Glen Campbell.
An introduction to George Jones in 1965 led to the country legend recording two of Kemp's songs, "Love Bug" and "I Made Her That Way." Conway Twitty also recorded the latter in 1966, and went on to cut a string of Kemp's songs, including "Image of Me," "Next in Line" and "That's When She Started to Stop Loving You."
Kemp scored one of his best-known hits with the Johnny Cash classic "One Piece at a Time" in 1976, and the following year, Johnny Paycheck scored again with "I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)." Kemp's success as a songwriter continued in subsequent decades, landing him a George Strait hit with "The Fireman" and a Ricky Van Shelton cover of "I'll Leave This World Loving You" that reached No. 1 in 1988.
The versatile entertainer also served stints playing guitar for Patsy Cline and George Jones and maintained his own recording career off and on over the years. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999.
Music Row reports Kemp was suffering from multiple ailments and was on kidney dialysis at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Patsy, a son, two daughters, seven of his siblings, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Visitation will be held from 10AM to 1:45PM on Thursday (March 12) at Anderson and Son Funeral Home and Memorial Park in East Lafayette, Tenn. A graveside service will follow at 2PM.
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