Songwriter Harlan Howard dies

— Harlan Howard, country songwriter who wrote "I Fall to Pieces," "Busted" and more than 100 other hits, has died. He was 74.

Howard, known in Nashville as "Mr. Songwriter," died suddenly Sunday evening, his widow, Melanie Howard, said Monday. He had suffered from heart trouble, she said.

Howard, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997, wrote such timeless songs as "I Fall to Pieces," recorded by Patsy Cline and other artists; "Busted," a Grammy-winning hit for Ray Charles; and other hits such as "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "The Key's in the Mailbox" and "Heartaches by the Number." More than 100 of his songs reached the Top 10.

Other stars who have recorded his songs range from Kitty Wells and Johnny Cash to Patty Loveless, Rodney Crowell and Reba McEntire. Non-country artists such as Charles, Brenda Lee, Shirley Caesar and Burl Ives had pop hits with his songs as well.

Howard's talents were so legendary on Music Row that for years, the community celebrated the Harlan Howard Birthday Bash, an all-star concert and outdoor picnic that was a benefit for songwriter organizations.

George Jones, Buck Owens, Glen Campbell, The Judds, Jimmy Dickens and Conway Twitty were just some of the stars who sang Howard's songs at the celebration over the years.

Howard was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973.


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