Another sad day for country music as Earl Thomas Conley has died at the age of 77. Born in Portsmouth, Ohio, Conley rejected a scholarship to art school and instead joined the U.S. Army. In 1973 he had a fateful meeting with Dick Heard who was the producer for Mel Street which eventually led to the creation of the song 'Smokey Mountain Memories' which reached the top 10 for Mel Street.

He worked in Nashville after the army and eventually moved to Huntsville, Alabama to work in a steel mill where he met producer Nelson Larkin who signed him to his first independent record label GRT in 1974.

Over the years, Conley released numerous albums and worked with a variety of artists from Randy Scruggs to Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters. His accomplishments include Grammy nominations for "Holding Her and Loving You" along with being the first artist in any genre to have four number one singles from the same album. He also charted in the top 20 with a song he wrote for Blake Shelton titled "All Over Me"

Rest in peace, Earl.