Mack Vickery, Co-Writer of “The Fireman,” Dead at 66

Singer and songwriter Mack Vickery died Tuesday (Dec. 21) in Nashville, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 66. Working mostly with other writers, Vickery penned such hits as “The Fireman” (for George Strait), “Rockin’ My Life Away” (Jerry Lee Lewis) and “The Jamestown Ferry” (Tanya Tucker). Vickery was born June 8, 1938, in Town Creek, Ala. His first recordings were for Sun Records in 1957, but they were not released until years later. Faron Young launched Vickery’s career as a songwriter when he took “She Went a Little Bit Farther” to No. 14 in 1968. Recording under the name Atlanta James for MCA Records, Vickery made his own chart debut in 1974 with “That Kind of Fool.” His next and final two chart singles, “Ishabilly” and “Here’s to the Horses,” came in 1977 on the Playboy label. Among other hits Vickery wrote or co-wrote are “Cedartown, Georgia” (Waylon Jennings), “Jones on the Jukebox” (Becky Hobbs), “Let’s Get Over Them Together” (Moe Bandy and Becky Hobbs), “Right in the Wrong Direction” (Vern Gosdin), “Tokyo, Oklahoma” and “Let Somebody Else Drive” (John Anderson) and “Who’ll Turn Out the Lights” (Mel Street, Ronnie McDowell). In 2002, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame honored him with a bronze star in its Walkway of Stars. Funeral arrangements are pending.