Joe South, a popular 60s and 70s singer-songwriter who won two Grammy Awards for the 1969 hit “Games People Play,” died this week after suffering a heart attack. The 72-year-old passed away at his Buford, Georgia home, according to the Hall County Coroner’s office.
South, whose real name is Joseph Souter, released his debut single, “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor,” 1958. His other hits include “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” and “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home.” “Games People Play” earned him Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Contemporary Song. South penned songs for numerous other artists, including “Down in the Boondocks” for Billy Joe Royal and the Grammy-nominated hit “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” for Lynn Anderson. He also recorded with stars like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel as a session guitarist.
“He’s one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” said Atlanta music publisher Butch Lowery. “His songs have touched so many lives. He’s such a wonderful guy and loved by many.”
South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2003. His final album, “Classic Masters,” was released in 2002.