Songwriter Frank Dycus Dies at Age 72

He Wrote Major Hits for George Strait, George Jones and Mark Chesnutt

Songwriter Frank Dycus, whose chart successes included George Strait’s “Marina del Ray” and “Unwound,” George Jones’ “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” and Mark Chesnutt’s “Gonna Get a Life,” died Friday (Nov. 23) in Lyons, Ga., following a lengthy illness. He was 72.

Born Dec. 5, 1939 in Hardmoney, Ky., Marion Frank Dycus moved to California in 1955 and soon after joined the Air Force. During his enlistment, he teamed up with Don Gonsalez to form the singing duo Don and Frank, which enjoyed a short period of regional fame and opened shows for such national acts as Buck Owens and Jim Reeves.

Dycus first ventured to Nashville following his discharge from service in 1962. That visit paid no dividends, however, prompting him to take a job at an aircraft factory in Wichita, Kan. He returned to Nashville in 1967 and got his first songwriting job with Pete Drake’s publishing company. Dycus formed his own company in 1970 and sold it two years later to Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. He subsequently became a staff writer for Parton’s Owepar Publishing.

He scored his first hit in 1970 with George Morgan’s “Lilacs and Fire” and co-wrote Wagoner and Parton’s 1976 Top 10 hit, “Is Forever Longer Than Always.” In 1974, Jerry Lee Lewis scored a No. 8 hit with Dycus’ “He Can’t Fill My Shoes.” Strait followed his 1981 breakthrough hit, “Unwound,” with another Dycus creation, “Down and Out.”

Dycus was twice voted SESAC’s songwriter of the year.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to