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TOM T. HALL,
1936-2021

Tom T. Hall, a groundbreaking Nashville songwriter who would land 21 singles in the country Top 10, died Friday at his home in Franklin, Tenn. He was 85. Rodney Crowell, Dawes and the Country Music Hall of Fame are among those who paid tribute on social media.

Hall was nicknamed The Storyteller. His most famous compositions include “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” a #1 hit in 1968 for Jeannie C. Riley; “Hello Vietnam,” a country chart-topper for Johnnie Wright in 1965; “Little Bitty,” Alan Jackson’s #1 in 1996; and his lone crossover hit, “I Love,” in 1973.

Like Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller, his peers in the '60s and '70s, Hall was among the new breed of songwriters who brought social issues to the lyrics of Nashville songs and used his protagonists to confront reality in new ways. His 1969 hit, “Homecoming,” to cite one, was about a celebrity who could no longer relate to the people of his hometown.

A native of Kentucky, he started out playing bluegrass before joining the Army in 1957. He moved to Nashville in the early 1960s and had his first hit via Jimmy C. Newman’s version of “D.J. for a Day,” which led to Hall's signing with Mercury.

Every year from 1967 to 1980 he had at least one Top 40 country song; he had 20 Top 30 country albums between 1970 and 1980.

Hall released nearly 40 albums, winning a Grammy for best album notes for the 1972 compilation Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits.

He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2004. 

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