John David Souther
John David Souther
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.
He is a well known country rock performer, writer and co-writer of hit songs for other artists, most famously Linda Ronstadt and association of the Eagles band.
Souther was greatly influenced by Texan Roy Orbison, whose sound he tried to emulate. Following his move to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, he met a young guitarist from Detroit named Glenn Frey. They bonded over their Detroit roots and a common love of country and R&B music. In short order, they began working together while sharing a small apartment in Los Angeles' Echo Park area (their downstairs neighbor was Jackson Browne with whom both Souther and Frey would collaborate on numerous projects).
Shortly after meeting, Souther and Frey formed a folk duo called Longbranch Pennywhistle. Their lone album, released in 1970 on Jimmy Bowen's Amos Records, featured significant contributions from guitarists James Burton and Ry Cooder, fiddler Doug Kershaw, drummer Jim Gordon, pianist Larry Knechtel and bassist Joe Osborn.
After recording an eponymous solo album in 1972, persuaded by David Geffen, Souther teamed up with Chris Hillman and Richie Furay to form the Souther Hillman Furay Band The group released two albums, but creative tensions and lack of record sales (not to mention Furay's discomfort with playing secular music following his conversion to Christianity) led to the band's demise.
Souther is probably best known for his well-crafted songwriting abilities, especially in the field of country rock. He co-wrote some of the biggest hits for the Eagles, including "Best of My Love", "Victim of Love", "Heartache Tonight", and "New Kid in Town". "How Long", which appears on the Eagles Long Road Out Of Eden was written by Souther and originally recorded on his first solo album in 1972. He also produced Linda Ronstadt's "Don't Cry Now" album, and wrote songs for several of Ronstadt's multi-platinum albums, including "Faithless Love" from Heart Like a Wheel and "White Rhythm and Blues" included in her Living in the USA album. He also recorded several notable duets with Ronstadt, including "Hasten Down the Wind," "Prisoner in Disguise," and "Sometimes You Can't Win." He wrote "Run Like a Thief," which appeared on Home Plate by Bonnie Raitt.
Souther has also contributed as a singer in works written by other artists, including backing vocals with Don Henley in "The Light Is On" by Christopher Cross on his eponymous debut album.
His biggest hit as a solo artist was his 1979 Orbison-influenced song "You're Only Lonely" from the album of the same name, which reached number 7 on the Billboard charts. A collaboration with James Taylor called "Her Town Too" from Taylor's Dad Loves His Work album reached number 11 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.
He was a contributor on the Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night 1987 concert and video, sang The Platters' "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" in the 1989 movie Always and sang the theme song to the 1989-1992 sitcom Anything But Love.
On October 14, 2008 Souther released If the World Was You, his first new release in 25 years. In the Fall of 2009, Souther released a follow up live CD entitled Rain - Live at the Belcourt Theatre, featuring a blend of old and new material.
As an actor, he has played several roles, including the character of John Dunaway in the (1989–1990) third season of the television drama thirtysomething and Ted in the film Postcards from the Edge (1990). He also performs in the audio book genre including the recent Jimmy Buffett sequel to Tales from Margaritaville, A Salty Piece of Land. He played Jesse James in the Television movie "Purgatory" in 1999. He was also Jeffrey Pommeroy in "My Girl 2".
John David Souther Discography
- 90 Vocals
- 39 Instruments & Performance
- 240 Writing & Arrangement
- 4 Featuring & Presenting
- 26 Production
- 2 Technical