Tom T. Hall, singer and 'Harper Valley P.T.A.' songwriter dies at 85
Country singer and songwriter known as "The Storyteller" – Tom T. Hall – has died at 85.
Dean Hall, Tom's son, confirmed the news on Twitter on Friday, writing, "With great sadness, my father, Tom T. Hall, died this morning at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. Our family asks for privacy during this difficult time."
Born in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Tom started out as a songwriter at a young age, and even performed during his stint in the Army in the late 1950s.
One of his best-known songs – "Harper Valley P.TA." – topped the country charts in 1968 when Jeannie C. Riley recorded it. It's been covered many times, including by Loretta Lynn.
"I wrote a lot of songs about people I grew up with. I changed some of the names -- to protect both the guilty and the innocent," he previously said in an interview with Kentucky Educational Television, revealing "Harper Valley P.T.A." was inspired by someone from his hometown.
Hall first found success penning songs in the early 1960s, including "DJ for a Day," recorded by Jimmy Newman, and "Mad," recorded by Dave Dudley.
The songwriter turned performed in the late 1960s, releasing his first single, "I Washed my Face in the Morning Dew," in 1967. He released a host of albums on Mercury Records for the following decade, including Homecoming (1970), and In Search of a Song (1971).
Hall was nominated for six Grammys during his career, winning one for Best Album Notes for Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits in 1972. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
He also became an author, penning poetry, short stories, books about songwriting, and novels.
Reacting to the news on Friday, Keith Urban tweeted, "My second concert (at the age of 5 !!) was Tom T. Hall. What a gifted literary musical artist he was. Peace be with all of his friends, family, and admirers today. Thank you Mr. Hall."
"One of my all time favorite songs is "Harper Valley P.T.A" RIP to one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Tom T. Hall. Your legacy & songs will live on," Carly Pearce shared.
"Tom T. Hall's masterworks vary in plot, tone, and tempo, but they are bound by his ceaseless and unyielding empathy for the triumphs and losses of others. My bet is we won't see the likes of him again, but if we do I'll be first in line for tickets to the show," read a post on the Country Music Hall of Fame account.
"Thank you for all of the music, Tom T. Hall. We'll miss you," read a post on the Grand Ole Opry's Twitter account.