Singer-songwriter wrote “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” Sweet Dreams” and “Oh Lonesome Me”:
- Don Gibson, an elementary school dropout who wrote and recorded country standards like “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” has died, his lawyer said. He was 75.
Gibson’s songs used plain language and riveting melodies to communicate strong emotions. He sang in a rich baritone and usually wrote about solitude and sadness involving love, earning him the nickname “the sad poet.”
“Simple is the only way I can write,” he once said.
Gibson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Born on April 3, 1928, Gibson was a poor boy from Shelby, N.C., who dropped out of school in second grade. But he became a songwriting genius who sold millions of records.
“The only thing I was any good at was music,” he said in a 1997 interview.
Between 1958 and the mid-1960s, Gibson’s records and his compositions, including “Sweet Dreams” and “Oh Lonesome Me,” were hits for himself and many other performers.
“I Can’t Stop Loving You” was recorded by more than 700 artists, but Ray Charles had the big pop version in 1962.
“Don Gibson gave me my first country hit and for that I will be forever grateful,” Charles said Tuesday. “Forty years ago, ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ gave both my career and country music a complete new chapter. It allowed me to go in a whole different musical direction while bringing the country sounds to a new and wider audience.
“It was Don’s wonderful creation that served as a springboard for this part of my life that remains one of the most cherished aspects of my career.” [AP]