Fire Destroys Cowboy Jack Clement’s Nashville Home and Studio

A Saturday afternoon fire destroyed the Nashville home and recording studio of singer, songwriter and record producer Cowboy Jack Clement, one of Music Row’s most beloved and colorful figures. Clement was in the back yard of his brick and stucco Tudor-style house on Belmont Boulevard when a smoke alarm sounded around 2 p.m. Authorities are continuing to investigate the exact cause of the blaze which is believed to have started in the studio, which was located in the attic. No one was injured, and although Clement was able to retrieve his favorite guitar, a Gibson J-200 acoustic he purchased in 1951, other instruments, memorabilia and master recordings were lost in the fire. Hired by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips in 1956, Clement worked as an engineer at the Memphis studio and mixed classic recordings by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. After moving to Nashville in 1959 as Chet Atkins‘ assistant at RCA Records, he discovered Charley Pride and produced the singer’s first 20 albums. Clement later produced albums by Cash, Waylon Jennings, Don Williams, John Hartford, Doc Watson, Townes Van Zandt, Louis Armstrong and many others. In 1988, he produced tracks for U2′s Rattle and Hum album. As a songwriter, his credits include Cash’s “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way,” Pride’s “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger” and “Just Between You and Me,” Jennings’ “Let All Help the Cowboys (Sing the Blues)” and other songs recorded by George Jones, Ray Charles, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton.