Until reading about the recently deceased Southern pop-soul-country singer-songwriter Joe South I had no idea he wrote “Hush,” the best song Deep Purple ever recorded. Did you know that? This puts a serious dent in what little admiration I have for Deep Purple, but that’s beside the point.
I knew South first and best as the man behind the first song and second-best version of any song called “Games People Play” (The Spinners‘ different song known by the same name being the best version). Learning that South wrote not only “Hush” but a favorite country-pop song of my youth, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” increases my appreciation of the man’s body of work. What a great title/lyric that song has; I think of it a few times a year when I hear my kids, friends, or coworkers whine about any of life’s expected hardships.
I also learned that South’s career stretched back to the 1958 novelty hit “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor” and that he wrote Billy Joe Royal‘s “Down in the Boondocks.” And he played guitar on Bob Dylan‘s Blonde on Blonde and some of Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits. Not bad for a guy I’d had pegged as a sub-Box Tops 1-hit wonder.