Guy Clark, Songwriter Who Influenced Generations Of Musicians, Dies At 74 | Nashville Public Radio

Guy Clark, Songwriter Who Influenced Generations Of Musicians, Dies At 74

May 17, 2016

Guy Clark is being remembered as one of Music City's most respected songwriters. He died Tuesday morning in Nashville.

Clark was successful as a songwriter but might be best remembered as a mentor: Generations of troubadours counted Clark as a major influence and called on him for advice at his Nashville home.

Before he was a pillar of the Nashville music industry, Guy Clark was a Texan, born and raised. Then he spent time in California, inspiring one of his most famous songs, "L.A. Freeway."

Clark ended up in Nashville in the 1970s and was associated with the poetic writers of that period, including his close friend Townes Van Zandt.

A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Clark wrote songs that were covered by Johnny Cash, Vince Gill and his close friend Rodney Crowell, among others. 

Clark told WPLN in 2006 the key to songwriting was having something to say.

"There's got to be that little leap of imagination or faith or something to make it worth writing about," he said. "I mean, it's not just knitting words together. There's got to be some kind of inspiration." 

He recorded several albums as a performer, too, although they didn't reach the same level of commercial success. But his single "Homegrown Tomatoes" became a barroom fixture, belted out in honky-tonks and covered in songwriter circles for decades.

Clark had battled cancer and other illnesses for several years. He was 74 years old.