In Memory Of Mack Vickery
June 8, 1938 - December 21, 2004
Mack is gone, but his music will last
forever. His songs are still being played on radio all over the world including
at CMP Radio. Click on the banner below to listen to CMP Radio 24 hours a day.
And Visit Our Live Radio Show There.
Mack Vickery will surely be missed by a lot of folks on Planet Earth. He touched many with his music, but those who knew him personally will all tell you they were touched much deeper by the type of friend he was. There was not a phony bone in Mack Vickery's body. I am very thankful to have shared space on the same planet with Mack. Sometime around the middle of December my friend Flash Flanagan & I did a radio show with another friend of ours, Bo Roberts as our special guest. One of the songs played on the show was a song that was recorded by Willie Nelson entitled "Ten With A Two". As Bo was talking about how this song came to be, he mentioned the fact that his co-writer was Mack Vickery. During the conversation, all three of us paid homage to Mack. I posted the radio show on the Internet during the early morning hours of December 21, 2004. Early that afternoon, I got a call from Flash that Mack had passed away. To listen to this show click here. Thanks for the memories, Mack, Jerry Mac (December 23, 2004)
I don't remember the exact date that I met Mack, but I remember very well one time around 1990 that David Lowe's dad was having a political rally in Sikeston, MO and wanted some of us guys to come up and pick and sing that day, so David and Mack went on ahead of us, and Kenny Chesney (before he was famous) drove me to the show. Tommy Barnes flew in with Loyd McCord from Springdale, AR. That was the first time that I had a chance to get to know Mack as a dear friend. I had the pleasure of spending a whole day with him then, and immediately knew that he was a genuine first class human being. Mack's passing will not only be a loss to the music world and me, but to the whole world. He's writing for the angels now, and probably picking with Carl Perkins or Elvis Presley. Maybe he's in a band with his hero, Ernest Tubb. Save a place for me, Mack, Flash Flanagan (December 23, 2004).
Billy Don Burns introduced me to his best friend, Mack Vickery, a few years ago. I love Mack's songs and couldn't wait to meet the man who wrote them. God, what a smile. That is the first thing I recall about meeting Mack. I don't think I ever saw Mack that he wasn't smiling or singing a little ditty that had come to his mind, usually something funny or catchy. His voice was so deep and sexy. He would say, Hellloo Brenda, in a sing-song way every time he greeted me.
I looked forward to seeing
Mack because the time I got to spend with him was so much fun. You never knew
what he was going to do or say, but it was always entertaining. He had hilarious
stories, crazy songs, and then there were the hit songs! It takes creative
genius to write those songs.
Listen to some
of Mack's music by clicking on the song titles!
The following was taken from www.wpln.org
Mack Vickery never let adversity stand in the way of his ambition. Left motherless at an early age, he lived an itinerant life with his father for a decade, from the early 1940s through the early '50s. He developed a love of country music in the course of growing up, and while still in his mid-teens started his own honky tonk band. Successfully deceiving people about his age, Vickery eked out a living playing music in Michigan and Ohio. His major influence, apart from Hank Williams, was Ernest Tubb, whose 1948 hit "Have You Ever Been Lonely" became part of Vickery's repertory.
At age 19, he made it to Memphis and an audition for Sun Records, on which he tried to straddle the gap between honky-tonk and rockabilly. He was rejected by Sun, and Vickery later bounced around different companies, including Gone Records and Jamie, earning little for his trouble. He never did enjoy success as a recording artist, despite a decade or more of trying. Vickery did sing and play harmonica backing Jerry Lee Lewis during jerry's years on Mercury Records, but much more important were the songs that he wrote, including "Meat Man," "I Sure Miss Those Good Old Times," "Ivory Tears," "Forever Forgiving," "That Kind of Fool," and "Rockin' My Life Away." His songs also became hits for Faron Young, Tanya Tucker, Sammi Smith, and Waylon Jennings, and his collaborations have included "She Went a Little Bit Farther," written with Merle Kilgore, which was recorded by Vickery's one-time idol Ernest Tubb, among other artists.
In the mid-'80s, songs from Vickery's rejected Sun demo tape, Fool Proof, were released by Charly Records as part of their reissue of the Sun Records library
The following was taken from CMT.com
Mack Vickery, Co-Writer of
"The Fireman," Dead at 66
Wed. December 22.2004 4:21 PM EST
Singer and songwriter Mack Vickery died Tuesday (Dec. 21) in Nashville, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 66. Working mostly with other writers, Vickery penned such hits as "The Fireman" (for George Strait), "Rockin' My Life Away" (Jerry Lee Lewis) and "The Jamestown Ferry" (Tanya Tucker). Vickery was born June 8, 1938, in Town Creek, Ala. His first recordings were for Sun Records in 1957, but they were not released until years later. Faron Young launched Vickery's career as a songwriter when he took "She Went a Little Bit Farther" to No. 14 in 1968. Recording under the name Atlanta James for MCA Records, Vickery made his own chart debut in 1974 with "That Kind of Fool." His next and final two chart singles, "Ishabilly" and "Here's to the Horses," came in 1977 on the Playboy label. Among other hits Vickery wrote or co-wrote are "Cedartown, Georgia" (Waylon Jennings), "Jones on the Jukebox" (Becky Hobbs), "Let's Get Over Them Together" (Moe Bandy and Becky Hobbs), "Right in the Wrong Direction" (Vern Gosdin), "Tokyo, Oklahoma" and "Let Somebody Else Drive" (John Anderson) and "Who'll Turn Out the Lights" (Mel Street, Ronnie McDowell). In 2002, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame honored him with a bronze star in its Walkway of Stars. Funeral arrangements are pending.
More About Mack
Mack Vickery, who wrote (and lived) 'Rockin' My Life Away,' dies
By PETER COOPER
Mack Vickery, the
Alabama-born wild man who penned such hits as George Strait's The Fireman, Ricky
Van Shelton's I'll Leave This World Loving You and Jerry Lee Lewis' Rockin' My
Life Away, died Tuesday at his Nashville home of an apparent heart attack. He
''Rockin' My Life Away is his whole life in one song,'' said friend Merle Kilgore, who signed Mr. Vickery to his first publishing contract and who co-wrote the John Anderson hit Let Somebody Else Drive with Mr. Vickery. ''I never met anybody in my whole career that wanted to be around the music 24 hours a day, but all Mack wanted to do was sing, be in clubs and be around music people. He just didn't want to go to bed.''
Born in Town Creek, Ala., Mr. Vickery faced hardship from an early age. His mother died when he was 3, and he moved throughout the South and Midwest with his family. As a teenager, he played in Ohio and Michigan honky-tonks, and after his 1957 graduation, he headed to Memphis and recorded three songs for legendary producer Sam Phillips. The recordings were not released, and Mr. Vickery went back to performing in Michigan.
Around 1964, he moved to Nashville and began working to write hit country songs, though he never gave up performing or recording (he sometimes made records as ''Atlanta James'' or ''Vick Vickers.''). In 1970, he released a none-too-austere album called Mack Vickery At The Alabama Women's Prison. The album cover featured some eye-catching prisoners peeking lovingly at Vickery.
''He went down and got buddy-buddy with the warden,'' Kilgore said. ''It was a female warden. They had a few drinks together, and he talked her into letting him come down there. He came out onstage like Elvis — shaking — and them women went wild.''
A master of lascivious songs, Mr. Vickery penned Meat Man for Jerry Lee Lewis (it was a raunchier predecessor to The Fireman). He and Lewis were close friends, and Lewis recorded more than 20 of Mr. Vickery's songs. Other Vickery-penned songs — I'm The Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised) and Sweet Honky Tonk Wine among them — offered a window into Mr. Vickery's rollicking mindset.
In 2003, Mr. Vickery was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and Burns marveled that his friend's walk-of-fame star was placed next to Lionel Richie's.
''Ol' Mack was something else,'' said Billy Don Burns, another longtime friend and collaborator. ''He did party and get down, but he was a kind person who was good to everybody. He made everybody feel like they were somebody.''
Memorial details were incomplete at press time.
Peter Cooper writes about music for The Tennessean. He can be reached at 259-8220, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calling hours: Dec. 27th, 12pm - 2pm & 4pm - 7pm
Service & internment: Dec. 28th, 11:30am
Will be held at:
Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery
660 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37204
- Buck Elsass
Independent Artist Group, LLC
dba: IndieMafia Records
All friends and fans of Mack are invited to submit messages in memory of Mack that will be posted here. Email messages to email@example.com.
Messages From Friends & Fans Concerning Mack
Submitted by: Bobby G Hastings
I met Mack in 1986. I owned a club in Alabama and he had been told we had some good music and brought in a well known recording artist from time to time. I think his friend and mine told him to come down , Vern Gosdin. Mack was a fun person to be around and like it has been said he just wanted to be around music people. He asked me could he come back at a later date and perform one evening. I welcomed him back and he did come, sat on a stool overlooking the 12000 sq ft area as comfortable as if he had been around a campfire with friends, just singing and visiting with friends. Mack didn’t want to be paid for his performance, he just wanted to come and be with music people. Everyone enjoyed getting to know Mack and I closed the club a few years later and lost contact with a lot of my music friends. I was thinking about old times and Mack came to mind so I googled this web site. I was sad when I saw at the heading, Mack Vickery- 1938---2004.
I was saddened by learning of his death and he will be missed, but will be remembered well. If you knew Mack you know he will not be forgotten.
May Mack’s song live on and on, Thanks for having a place for me to remember Mack.
Bobby G Hastings
Submitted by: Flash Gordon
I sure do miss Mack. Most of the stories that I could tell can't be printed here but suffice it to say we always had a large time together. Mack always treated me like I was somebody. I had a few songs written that he liked and he was always pushin me and trying to get me a cut.
One time around Thanksgiving I ran into Mack downtown and as always during that period I was broke. He gave me some money and told me where he would be for Thanksgiving dinner and I should show up there. I went to the dinner and Bobby Bortchers was there. There was this song that Bobby liked that I wrote and he asked me to sing it for Mack. The song is called "In The Arms of Cocaine". Mack said, "Hank needs to hear that one." Well, Mack put it on a tape with a couple of his songs and gave it to Hank and he later recorded it and it ended up on the "Strong Stuff" album.
Thank God for Mack Vickery.
Submitted by: Garrett Walker
When I was very, very young, my parents were in a
country-western band, "The Music Makers" out of Topeka, KS. My
parents were quite good and did gain national attention creating the opportunity
to cater to many Nashville acts such as Susan Raye, Glenn Campbell, Bobby
Goldsboro, Roy Clark, Buck Trent, the Haggar Twins and many, many others.
Well, there was an act that came through our town once a year and created quite a stir. It was a male duo. One guy was a little older and quite comedic and the other was the "Cat's Meow" so to speak. He was tall, blonde, very handsome, and a great entertainer and a superb songwriter. The act was "Elmer Fudpucker featuring Mack Vickery".
Mack always came to our house but never got out of the RV. He was the 'mystery-man' but everyone in our small town would rant and rave about his performance.
Well, I was given his 1964 promo shot and it would be my "show and tell" every Monday at school...12 years after the fact. I would always tell a different story I'd heard about Mack. My teacher finally told me I needed another subject to show-off.
I came to Nashville in 1995 and searched him out only to find that he was such a personable man and my thoughts of him have only heightened after spending hours upon hours with him on various occasions.
His death truly saddened me, especially because I was on the road in Austin, TX when I heard of it. I wasn't able to attend his funeral but my prayers were with him and his sister. Mack was a helluva man that treated you with the true kindness God intended man to spread. His honesty, wit and true expression in his writing were his purest assets.
He is thoroughly missed by all that knew him. His torn and tattered picture is still my "Show-and-Tell" to this day.
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