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Harlan Howard

December 1, 1978 OHC385 65 min.


Songwriter. Born September 8, 1927. Died March 3, 2002. Full name: Harlan Perry Howard. His songwriting credits include “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down,” “Heartaches by the Number,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Why Not Me.” Member, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Member, Country Music Hall of Fame®.

Interview Summary

1978 December
(1 hour, 5 minutes)
Songwriter Harlan Howard talks about his experiences working as a successful Nashville writer. Discussion includes the quality of country songwriting; pressure on songwriters to be performers; comments about other writers, including Kris Kristofferson, Tom T. Hall, Roger Miller, and Cindy Walker; his approach to writing; his experiences as a writer; description of Nashville when he arrived in the early 1960s; comments on working with Nashville producers; changes in country music recording; the story behind “Streets of Baltimore”; great songwriting; impact of Ray Charles on the popularity of country songs; working with Buck Owens and the story behind “Tiger By The Tail”; working with Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, and other artists; memories from the early years of his career, including his first hit “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”; comments on the music business and the songwriter; and influences on his writing.

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