Joe South | Grammy winner, 72

Posted: September 08, 2012

Joe South, 72, who performed hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s such as "Games People Play" and "Walk a Mile in My Shoes," and also wrote songs including "Down in the Boondocks" for other artists, died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack.

Mr. South, whose real name was Joseph Souter, died at his home in Buford, Ga., northeast of Atlanta.

Mr. South worked as a session guitar player on recordings by some of the biggest names of the 1960s - including Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan. He had a string of hits of his own starting in the late 1960s that made his voice a familiar one on radio stations, with a style some described as a mix of country and soul.

He is perhaps 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.

He also wrote the Grammy-nominated "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" for country singer Lynn Anderson.

Earlier, his "Down in the Boondocks" was a 1965 hit for Billy Joe Royal. He performed on Franklin's "Chain of Fools" as well as on Dylan's 1966 classic Blonde on Blonde, a mix of rock, blues, and folk that Rolling Stone magazine ranked No. 9 on its greatest-albums list.

His career was struck by tragedy when a brother, Tommy Souter, committed suicide in 1971. A biography of Mr. South on billboard.com says he moved to Maui and retired from recording for a time starting in the mid-'70s.

- AP

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