Songwriter and musician Donnie Fritts died August 27, 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama as a result of cancer at the age of 76.

Fritts was known as a session player and a songwriting collaborator with Country music star Kris Kristofferson. He also worked with Waylon Jennings and Ray Charles. He is also credited with being one of the founders of the Muscle Shoals Sound.

Along with sharing the songwriting credits with Kristofferson, Fritts name also appeared on songs by Dusty Springfield and The Four Tops and include “We Had it All”, “Breakfast in Bed”, and “You’re Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning”.

He was born November 11, 1942 in Florence, Alabama where he began playing music with local bands when he was only 15 years old. After starting out on the drums, Fritts began playing the keyboard.

He signed his first publishing deal with a Nashville company in 1965 where had his compositions recorded by Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis Dolly Parton, The Rolling Stones, Lulu, Arthur Alexander, John Prine, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, and The Four Tops.

Fritts compositions appear in the films “Blume in Love”, “French Shampoo”, “Convoy”, “They All Laughed”, “The Winning Hand”, “The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrrifico”, “Godzilla”, “Mississippi Grind”, and the Golden Globe Award winning film “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”.

He also did a bit of acting and appeared in a handful of films, some of them with Kristofferson, “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid”, “Cockfighter”, “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”, “A Star is Born”, “Convoy”, “Songwriter”, “The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James”, “Birth of a Legend: The Story of the WAWA”, and “Jayne Mansfield’s Car”.

Fritts other accomplishments include induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

Fritts is survived by his wife of over 50 years Donna.

Donnie Fritts discography:
“Prone to Lean”
“Everybody’s Got a Song”
“Oh My Goodness”
“June” (A tribute to Arthur Alexander)
“One Foot in the Groove”


feature photo credit: photo taken from Donnie Fritts’ Facebook page