Joe South

February 28, 1940September 5, 2012

View Larger  Joe South, 72: Music ‘lit him up’ By Michelle E. Shaw The Atlanta Journal-Constitution The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Donny Osmond were just a few of the artists that singer, songwriter and session musician Joe South got to rub elbows with. And while most of his hits came in the ’60s and ’70s, he never lost his love for music. “He’d just really started to enjoy life,” said Judy Thompson, a friend of more than 30 years. “But he was still working. He’d just had a song released in Australia.” Mr. South’s death Wednesday was sudden and unexpected, Ms. Thompson said, noting they’d recently returned from an extended trip to California. They flew out for his granddaughter’s second birthday and took the train back to Atlanta. “It took us four hours to get out there, and four days to get back,” she said with a laugh. “But he loved every minute of it, and said taking the train across the country was on his bucket list.” Born Joseph Souter, Mr. South died from apparent heart failure at his Flowery Branch home, Ms. Thompson said. He was 72. A funeral is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday at H.M. Patterson, Oglethorpe Hill, which is handling arrangements. Mr. South worked as a session guitar player on recordings of some of the biggest names of the 1960s — including playing on Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” He also worked with Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, among others. In the late ’60s he had a string of his own hits that made his booming voice a familiar one on radio stations, with a style that some described as a mix of country and soul. The Atlanta native may be best known for the song “Games People Play,” which reached No. 12 on the Billboard charts in 1969 and won him two Grammys for Best Contemporary Song and Song of the Year. The song, released on South’s debut album “Introspect,” spoke against hate, hypocrisy and inhumanity. “He was a brilliant writer because he was a deep thinker,” said Karin Johnson, of Lowery Music, who’d worked with Mr. South for the past 10 years. “He was able to capture the times well, particularly in the ’60s.” Don Law, a Lawrenceville recording artist, said Mr. South felt “music could change people from the inside out.” “Joe had this way about him, a way to convey a message through music, that I don’t think anyone has matched,” he said. Mr. South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2003, according to the Lowery Music group. Butch Lowery, president of Bill Lowery Music, called Mr. South, “one of the most prolific songwriters of our time.” “To not only be a great writer, but to be a performer and guitarist, he was a triple threat,” said Ms. Johnson. “He was immersed in music. That’s what lit him up.” In addition to his granddaughter, Mr. South is survived by his son, Craig South of North Hollywood, Calif  


  • Visitation Friday, September 7, 2012
  • Funeral Service Saturday, September 8, 2012

Joe South

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November 3, 2017

Dank voor je mooie muziek.
Ik zal je altijd herinneren. Vooral de song : God vergeef me.
Deze hoorde in jouw en mijn leven.

God zegent je.

November 3, 2017

Dank voor je mooie muziek.
Ik zal je altijd herinneren. Vooral de song : God vergeef me.
Deze hoorde in jouw en mijn leven.

God zegent je.

July 20, 2017

Rest in peace. Your music touched so many people. You will never be forgotten. I still listen to your songs often.

Ann Brannen

June 21, 2017

RIP Sir. I love all your music but my all time favorite is "Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home" Brings back so many memories. I know Heaven must have an amazing band....

Bill Marks

June 3, 2017

Have been playing "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" on my ipod while jogging. Such an upbeat song of hope. Both Joe and brother Tommy Souter remain with us through their enduring songs...

tootie miller

March 9, 2017

r.i.p. joe

March 5, 2017

Poignant singer. Touched my life immensely.

Mary Wilson

September 5, 2016

My heart go out to the family,sorry about your loss.Joe South songs touched everyone. May the family receive comfort from God and Jesus Christ1Cornithians1:3,4. M W


May 13, 2016

Thank you for being a super star in the soundtrack of our lives!

Mystic Maverick

January 25, 2016

Revisiting your music today. Incredible songwriter, vocalist and musician. Just learned you played the funky guitar on Aretha's "Chain of Fools." The world lost an incredibly underrated talent when you passed from this earth. I pray you found the peace you didn't always have here.