Mickey Newbury, Lamp

Mickey Newbury passed away at his home in Springfield, Oregon on September 29 after a lengthy illness. Mickey was recognized as one of America’s finest songwriter-performers, and his songs have been recorded by hundreds of other artists, including Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mickey was born in 1940 in Houston, Texas. While in high school, he formed a vocal group, The Embers, which performed throughout Texas in the mid-1960’s. In 1959, after graduating from high school, Mickey joined the Air Force. He spent three years as an air traffic controller, serving most of that time in England. Upon his discharge in 1963, he returned to Texas where he wrote and performed songs in local clubs.

His songs came to the attention of Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville, who summoned him to Nashville in 1964. Mickey quickly became one of the premiere songwriters in Nashville, and in the 1960’s had #1 hits in Pop, Country, Rhythm & Blues and Easy Listening charts. In 1970 Mickey did a live arrangement of American Trilogy while performing at the Bitter End West, and that song has since become a standard in the repertoire of many performing artists. It was probably the last song Elvis performed in concert, and has been recorded by over 100 different artists.

After numerous releases on major labels, in 1996 Mickey formed his own music production and distribution company, Mountain Retreat. Since then, all of Mickey’s earlier catalogue has been released in the CD format, including his earlier albums, which were released as part of the 8 CD box set, The Mickey Newbury Collection. Mickey continued to write and perform new songs, which have been released on Stories From the Silver Moon Cafe (2000), and A Long Road Home (2001). Mickey’s current release is entitled Winter Winds (2002). He established an Internet website at www.mickeynewbury.com where his many friends gather to discuss music and life on the “chat” page.

Mickey was one of the most respected songwriters, both for his artistic skill and integrity. He is a member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His accumulated work has been described as one of the most remarkable catalogs of music any American artist has assembled in this century, “…a body of work for which he deserves to be remembered and revered.” (Peter Blackstock in No Depression, March-April, 1999) Mickey’s passing is a great loss to his family, many friends and to music.