Tom T. Hall, Legendary Country Singer and Songwriter, Dies at 85

by Joe Rutland

Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter Tom T. Hall, who had 12 No. 1 hit songs to his credit, died on Friday. He was 85.

Hall died at his home in Franklin, Tenn., his son, Dean Hall, told The Tennessean. As word started spreading about his death, the Grand Ole Opry sent out its condolences on Twitter.

Hall received the moniker “The Storyteller” from a fellow country music legend, Tex Ritter. He also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1971.

Among the hit songs Tom T. Hall wrote was “Harper Valley P.T.A.”, which was a crossover hit for Jeannie C. Riley back in 1968. That song hit the No. 1 spot on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts. The song earned a Grammy Award and CMA Award for Riley.

Hall was born on May 25, 1936, in Olive Hill, Ky. Before starting his singing and songwriting career, he worked in radio for stations in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Tom T. Hall also wrote songs for country stars like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Alan Jackson. He also was one of the earliest performers to appear on PBS’ “Austin City Limits” show. Hall delivered a performance in that show’s fourth season.

Country Music Hall of Fame, Fans Shared Condolences For Tom T. Hall

As news started breaking about the death of Tom T. Hall, the Country Music Hall of Fame and fans of his work shared their condolences.

In a tweet from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, CEO Kyle Young said, “Tom T. Hall’s masterworks vary in plot, tone, and tempo, but they are bound by his ceaseless and unyielding empathy for the triumphs and losses of others. My bet is we won’t see the likes of him again, but if we do I’ll be first in line for tickets to the show.”

Songwriter Roger Harvey wrote on Friday night on Twitter, “Rest In Paradise to Tom T. Hall. A hero of mine whose approach to songwriting has had a profound influence on me. Thank you for the songs & the constant inspiration.”

Nashville radio station WSM, home to the Grand Ole Opry, sent these words out on Twitter on Friday night. “We will miss you, Tom T. Hall. Thank you for all of the incredible music. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

“Few could tell a story like Tom T. Hall,” Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, said Friday night. “As a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, he was one of those triple threat artists who continued to make an impact on the next generation. 

“I’ll always remember growing up listening to Tom T.’s music with my father, who was a huge bluegrass and Country fan,” Trahern said.