"He became a giant figure in the business, establishing his own publishing company and recording studio"
In a town where individuality might often be looked at as the exception rather than the rule, "Cowboy" Jack Clement was a true original who marched to the beat of his own drum. Clement, who passed away earlier today at his home in Nashville, carved out a musical career that lasted some sixty years, culminating with the April 10 announcement that he would be one of three inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame this October. He was 82.
Clement was born April 5, 1931 in Memphis, TN. He grew up enamored with the guitar and the dobro at an early age, though he didn’t entertain thoughts of a career in music until he returned home from a stint in the United States Marines in the early 1950s. He made a record for Boston, MA – based label Sheraton in 1953, but took a realistic approach to the business, enrolling at Memphis State University.
The year 1956 would change everything for Clement, as he took a job under Sam Phillips at Sun Records. It was there, at 706 Union Avenue, that he would work with acts such as Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash -- artists already signed to the label. Clement proved his worth to Phillips when he recorded a newcomer from Louisiana while the label owner was out of town. His name? Jerry Lee Lewis.