Jan Crutchfield, writer of the endlessly revived country hit, “Statue of a Fool,” died Thursday (Nov. 1) at Nashville’s St. Thomas Hospital at age 74.
Born Feb. 26, 1938, in Paducah, Ky., Crutchfield migrated to Nashville in the early 1960s, following the trail of his older brother, Jerry, who would soon distinguish himself as a producer and music publisher.
Faron Young charted three of Jan Crutchfield’s songs: the Top 10 “Down by the River” (1962), “We’ve Got Something in Common” (1963) and the Top 5 “This Little Girl of Mine” (1972). In 1965, crooner Perry Como had a modest pop hit with Crutchfield’s “Dream on Little Dreamer.”
But the songwriter’s big break came in 1969 when Grand Ole Opry star Jack Greene recorded his “Statue of a Fool,” which stayed No. 1 for two weeks. The song was subsequently covered in 1974 by Brian Collins (No. 10), in 1979 by the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley (No. 91) and in 1989 by Ricky Van Shelton (No. 2). Former Temptations member David Ruffin also recorded the song as an album cut in 1975.
Crutchfield struck gold again in 1981 when Lee Greenwood, whom his brother Jerry was producing for MCA Records, firmly established himself as a country artist with “It Turns Me Inside Out.” Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and the Seldom Scene also recorded the song.
Greenwood would chart three more Crutchfield compositions: “She’s Lying” (1982, No. 7), “Going, Going, Gone” (1983, No. 1) and “It Should Have Been Love by Now,” a duet with Barbara Mandrell (1985, No. 19). Among Crutchfield’s other cuts were “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger” (Charley Pride, 1967), “Sweet Misery” (Ferlin Husky, 1970) and “Ridin’ Rainbows” (Tanya Tucker, 1976).