He's a footnote, at best, for most pop music fans of The Swinging Sixties and now, Joe South, is an obituary, dying yesterday of heart failure in Buford, Georgia. As a socially awkward teen of that era who was to eventually know how to do everything with rock music, except enjoy it, I knew Joe South first as the guy who wrote Billy Joe Royal's massive hit, Down in the Boondocks and not that long afterwards played on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde.
It was an era before we'd perfectly compartmentalized music by genre and where never again, or before (come to think of it), shall the twain meet. All there was AM radio-that little three inch speaker in the dashboard of the car and some of the stuff that poured from it, like Joe South, was absolutely amazing.
He was, and should be, remembered for Games People Play which is what that song is called you're hearing all over those automated soulless Soft Gold radio stations today where the play lists are computer generated and Joe South makes the cut because the upper end of the demo buys American-manufactured cars who advertise heavily on these stations. Tell you who else should, the folks who manufacture drinking straws because these stations suck.
All the Fashion with None of the Passion. All Hits or All something else remarkably similar. Turn the vocalists upside down and they'd sound like sisters. Another piece of the soundtrack of my growing up has gone away forever, leaving me with memories. And smiles.