Ben Peters

Writer of country music chart-toppers
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The Independent Online

One of the most successful country songwriters of his era, Ben Peters wrote a clutch of chart-toppers, including Eddy Arnold's "Turn the World Around" (1967), Freddy Fender's "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" (1975), Johnny Rodriguez's "Love Put a Song in My Heart" (1975) and "Daytime Friends" by Kenny Rogers (1977).

Ben Peters, songwriter: born Greenville, Mississippi 20 June 1933; married (one son, two daughters); died Nashville, Tennessee 25 May 2005.

One of the most successful country songwriters of his era, Ben Peters wrote a clutch of chart-toppers, including Eddy Arnold's "Turn the World Around" (1967), Freddy Fender's "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" (1975), Johnny Rodriguez's "Love Put a Song in My Heart" (1975) and "Daytime Friends" by Kenny Rogers (1977).

Artists as diverse as Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Alan Jackson and Westlife covered his songs, but it was Charley Pride who emerged as Peters' foremost champion. Pride, a prolific country hitmaker, cut over forty of Peters' numbers and took four of them - "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" (1971), "It's Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer (1972), "More to Me" (1977) and "You're So Good When You're Bad" (1982) - to the No 1 position.

Peters was born in Greenville, on the Mississippi Delta, in 1933, and spent much of his childhood picking cotton. Turning to music, he began performing professionally at the age of 14. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi before joining the US Navy as a pilot. Following his discharge, he continued to hone his songwriting skills and, in 1966, moved to Nashville.

In 1967 Roy Drusky took Peters' "If the Whole World Stopped Lovin' " into the country Top Twenty and, just a few weeks later, Eddy Arnold's version of "Turn the World Around" became his first No 1. In the same year he wrote "Before the Next Teardrop Falls". Recorded by Duane Dee, it was released as a single, but when Dee was drafted, it faltered and was covered unsuccessfully on another 31 occasions before it finally became a smash hit for Freddy Fender in 1975.

Peters was adept at spinning something substantial out of an apparently innocuous phrase: "Daytime Friends", for example, was inspired by a weatherman's declaration that there would be "daytime highs and night-time lows", whilst "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin' ", for which Peters won a Grammy in 1972, stemmed from his daughter Angela's family nickname of "Angel" and his wife's reminder one day that he should "Go kiss your Angel good morning".

Paul Wadey



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