Bobby Emmons, a legendary session musician whose songwriting credits include Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas,” died Monday night (Feb. 23) at a Nashville hospital, according to The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. He was 72.
Born in Corinth, Mississippi, Emmons became a prime figure in the Memphis music scene in the late ‘50s as keyboardist in the Bill Black Combo. In Memphis, he later became a member of the original house band at Memphis-based Hi Records and was also a mainstay at American Recording Studio.
Working with producer Chips Moman, Emmons was part of American’s house band during its prime in the ‘60s and ‘70s when the studio was turning out hits such as Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” B.J. Thomas’ “Hooked on a Feeling” and Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”
Emmons eventually moved to Nashville, where he continued his session work and co-wrote several country hits, including Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” and “The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want to Get Over You),” Tanya Tucker’s “Love Me Like You Used To” and George Strait’s “So Much Like My Dad.”
His studio credits include sessions with the Highwaymen, Garth Brooks, Roy Orbison, Johnny Paycheck, Townes Van Zandt, John Hiatt, Natalie Merchant, Wilson Pickett, King Curtis, Joe Tex and Herbie Mann.