Tom T Hall death: Country music songwriter who wrote for Johnny Cash died by suicide, aged 85

Musician’s songs were performed by country music legends including Cash, Waylon Jennings and Loretta Lynn

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 06 January 2022 08:45
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Tom T Hall performs live at Church Street Studios in Orlando, Florida

Country Hall of Famer Tom T Hall died by suicide aged 85 at his home in Franklin, Tennessee last year, it has emerged.

The musician, born Thomas T Hall, was a highly-regarded songwriter in country music, known for hits including “Harper Valley PTA”, performed by Jeannie C Riley in 1968, and others such as “Homecoming” and “That’s How I Got to Memphis”.

Known fondly by fans as “The Storyteller”, Hall wrote a total of 12 No 1 hit songs and a further 26 Top 10s, and is ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time.

Rolling Stone reports that a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s office told the publication that Hall’s death was “ruled a suicide”.

According to the medical report obtained by country music blog Saving Country Music, a 911 call was placed at 11:15am on Friday 20 August 2021. Paramedics “confirmed death at approximately 1133 hours, due to obvious injuries”.

The Independent has contacted the Williamson County Medical Examiner for comment.

Hall earned seven Country Music Association (CMA) Awards nominations during his career, including an Entertainer of the Year nomination in 1973. The Kentucky native’s work on the songs “Harper Valley PTA”, “The Year Clayton Delaney Died” and “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine” earnt him three nominations for Song of the Year.

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978, then the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. His songs were covered by country music legends including Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn and Bobby Bare.

Among the rare songs to be performed by another artist before Hall was “I’ll Cross Over Jordan Some Day”, which was cut by Johnny Cash in 1982. Hall and his wife, Dixie – also a songwriter – were lifelong friends with Cash and his wife, June Carter.

“Honour to the family and memory of the great Tom T Hall,” Cash’s son John Carter Cash wrote last year, following the news of Hall’s death.

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“I grew up with Tom. He and his wife Dixie were two of my parents’ lifelong friends.” Carter Cash ended his post with the hashtag: #TheMusicNeverEnds.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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