Joe South (Joseph Alfred Souter)

Joe South

Joe South

Born Joseph Alfred Souter into a family of diverse talent, his father was a guitarist and his mother penned romantic poetry, he developed a fondness for country music while listening to programs broadcasted from Nashville on the radio. He dropped out of Southern Polytechnic State University to pursue a career in music and with the aid of Atlanta disc jockey Bill Lowery (whom suggested a name change for him to South), he yielded his first single “Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor” (1958). This led to a period of time when he was a sessions guitarist in Nashville for such artists as Marty Robbins, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Simon and Garfunkel. He returned to his roots as a writer and penned and produced the Top-10 hit “Down in the Boondocks” (1965) recorded by Billy Joe Royal. In 1966, he contributed instrumentally on Bob Dylan’s classic “Blonde on Blonde” album. By the late 1960s, South focused on making a name for himself as a recording artist and yielded the single “Games People Play” (1969), for which he received two Grammy Awards. This was followed up with the Top-20 song “Walk a Mile In My Shoes” (1970). After his brother Tommy’s death from suicide in 1971, South fell into a deep depression which virtually ended his career with the exception of some brief recordings during the 1980s and 1990s. South’s writings crossed music genres when his song “Hush” became a hit for Deep Purple in 1968. He died from a heart attack

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  • February, 28, 1940
  • Atlanta, Georgia


  • September, 05, 2012
  • Buford, Georgia

Cause of Death

  • Heart Failure


  • Mount Harmony Memorial Gardens Cemetery
  • Mableton,Georgia

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