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JOHNNY PAYCHECK

Greenfield's Country Music Legend!

      

Johnny Paycheck passed away on February 19, 2003 at the age of 64.

  

Fact Sheets | Biography | BBC Article | Latest Info  

Discography | BMI Song List | Latest CD | Columbus Dispatch Article

   Click photos to enlarge.

Johnny Paycheck Information

Music Fact Sheet

Personal Fact Sheet

  • 6 Gold Albums
  • 1 Platinum Album
  • 1 Double Platinum Album
  • 33 Hits in a Row
  • 3 hits A Year for 11 Years (1970-1981)
  • Don't Take Her, She's All I Got (1970 Grammy Nomination)
  • Take This Job and Shove It. (#1 World Wide)
  • BORN: May 31, 1938 in Greenfield, OH
  • PHYSICAL: 5'5", brown hair, brown eyes
  • HOBBIES: Fishing, Golf, Archery and watching movies
  • FAVORITE PLACE: The hills of West Virginia & Disneyworld
  • FAVORITE MUSICAL STYLES: Country, a little of everything
  • FAVORITE SONG: Old Violin
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Country cooking, cornbread, beans and buttermilk
  • FAVORITE TV SHOWS: Cartoons
  • EARLIEST AMBITION: To be a singer, Johnny started working on his dream when he was 15 years old.
  • PROFESSIONAL GOAL: TO BE Number One Again
  • ADVICE TO OTHERS: "Be prepared for a lot of hard work. Keep on the straight and narrow and
    don't be blinded by the excitement. Most important of all, stay away from the drugs and alcohol."
  • CAREER INFLUENCES: Hank Williams, George Jones & Lefty Frizzell

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In the spring of 2003 new signs were posted at the major entrances of the city honoring Greenfield's "Country Music Legend." Earlier signs were removed following the infamous barroom shooting that landed PayCheck in an Ohio prison. Click photo to enlarge.

paycheck sign.jpg (44357 bytes)

   

Biography of Johnny Paycheck

Appeared on a website operated by Legendary Artist. Date of article is unknown but information regarding Johnny's current (May 11, 2002) medical condition is dated.

paycheck-hag-jones.jpg (15612 bytes)Born Donald Eugene Lytle, in Greenfield, Ohio on May 31st (1938), Johnny was playing guitar at the age of six and singing professionally at the age of fifteen. He knew then what his dream was, and this is when he began to search for his Star. He once said that "He'd sing until he was too old, and then he'd hum." That statement made in the early 1980's now sums up Johnny Paycheck's renewed dedication to his music and his new career.
After a stint in the Navy in the mid-50's, Johnny took a job with the Legendary and now member of the Country
Music Hall of Fame, George Jones. He stayed with George for six years, playingpaycheck_stewart.jpg (17292 bytes) bass and later steel guitar. Many of his fans don't realize that Johnny is a very accomplished musician. Johnny was always known as a great, great singer. Singing tenor to Jones' lead vocals, the playful Possum soon began altering his phrasing in an amusing attempt to confuse Johnny in his vocal back-ups, but the ploy was unsuccessful every time it was tried. Johnny then worked with such country music greats as Faron Young, Ray Price and Porter Wagoner, and began receiving recognition as a very good songwriter. His early credits include his composition of one of paycheck-reba.jpg (24452 bytes)Tammy Wynette's first great hits, "Apartment #9, & A great hit for Ray Price, Touch My Heart. Johnny was nominated for two Grammy Awards for (Don't Take Her, She's All I've Got & Take This Job and Shove It), and was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) In 1965, Johnny started seeing his dream come true, with a string of hit records, beginning with A-11, a hard-driving honky tonk anthem that gave him his first chart ride. & then came hit after hit, to name a few, There were, "11 Months & 29 days," "Song & Dance Man," "Someone To Give My Love To," "Don't Take Her She's All I've Got," Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets, and the great "Old Violin." Then it all broke loose for Johnny Paycheck, when he released the song that has now become a standard, to the heart of the working man, "Take This Job & Shove It," this is the song that took Johnny Paycheck on a success ride that many artists never get in their entire career.paycheck-smith.jpg (30468 bytes) Johnny was in demand from all the major TV Variety Shows and Concert Promoters. This one record put Johnny Paycheck's name all over the world, and gave him a taste of what life can be, as a celebrity of such magnitude. With six gold albums, one platinum album, one double- platinum album (almost unheard of back then for a country music artist), and 33 hit singles, you would think that Johnny's continued success was a sure thing and that the road he was traveling was paved with gold. BUT NOT SO--THERE WERE SOME ROUGH ROADS AND DETOURS ON THAT ROAD, BUT NOW HE IS BACK ON THE MAIN HIGHWAY. ALL ROADS ARE SMOOTH WITH NO DETOURS OR POTHOLES TO ALTER JOHNNY'S TRAVEL PLANS. He is back and he says sincerely, if it weren't for the fans, "I would have been gone a long time ago. They have always stuck with me. I sing about the little guy who has paycheck-gill.jpg (24931 bytes)been kicked around by the big guy." He says, "I sing from the heart, and the fans know that." Johnny Paycheck is one of the last of a dying breed, and there are only a few left. Johnny's fresh new state of mind extends to his family, his new career, his band, and to the new people who are surrounding his rise back to the top of country music, where he deserves to be. Hepaycheck-brooks.jpg (13485 bytes) has had a major role in a movie, and in 1991, received the Entertainer of the Year Award from the major Independent Record Labels. Johnny now has a heavy touring schedule and is actively spreading the word about the benefits of obtaining his G.E.D., and the evil of DRUGS and ALCOHOL. "I feel better than I've felt since I was 20 years old", smiles John. "I didn't know how good life was. I am in complete control of my life, and I know exactly where I am going with my singing career." Over the years, Johnny Paycheck has truly lived all of the good and bad that any one man could possibly handle, but he has weathered the storms and survived, and now he is back - STRONGER and BETTER. The first time or the next time that you meet Johnny Paycheck, and he looks you in the eye, you will know that he is living proof, his life is full of positives, and he is living for the future. 

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PAYCHECK WITH A BRITISH TWIST

The following article appeared on the BBC's website on May 11, 2002.

johnny_paycheck_bbc.jpg (13535 bytes)A one-time Nashville renegade, Johnny Paycheck was an Outlaw before Waylon and Willie had even thought about leaving Texas. It took more than 20 years of hard-drinking, womanizing, pill-popping and near misses before Paycheck finally made the breakthrough to commercial success in the late 1970s. The man who stood up for the working man and proudly proclaimed across American jukeboxes ‘Take This Job And Shove It’ finally screwed up one time too many. He followed that 1977 smash with a rapid and painful downfall back into alcoholism and drugs, bankruptcy, a rock-bottom reputation and a serious assault related to a bar-room shooting incident, resulting in a nine-year prison sentence. An early publicity handout, written before much of that had even taken place, stated: 'With a life story that fits impeccably into the "rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches" stereotype, the only truly amazing thing about Johnny Paycheck is that no-one has yet seen fit to put his biography on the silver screen. Change a couple of names to protect the guilty and avoid lawsuits and you'd have an instant smash.' The only problem, of course, is that very few would ever have believed a word of it.

Born Donald Lytle on 31 May 1937 in Greenfield, Ohio, he was performing in talent contests by the age of nine,paycheck-travis.jpg (24886 bytes) and riding the rails as a drifter by the time he turned 15, performing in bars and clubs as the ‘Ohio Kid’. He joined the Navy, and, following a fight with an officer, ended up in the brig for two years. After his discharge he arrived in Nashville, where he worked in the bands of Porter Wagoner, Faron Young, George Jones and Ray Price. Under the tutelage of Buddy Killen, he recorded for Decca and Mercury using the name Donny Young. He fronted George Jones’s band from 1962 to 1966; it was a love-hate relationship, both men being highly volatile and heavily into booze and drugs.

paycheck-adkins.jpg (12386 bytes)In 1965 he renamed himself Johnny Paycheck (from John Austin Paycheck, a Chicago prize-fighter) and, working with producer Aubrey Mayhew, charted with a couple of minor country hits, A-11 and Heartbreak Tennessee. The following year he and Mayhew started Little Darlin' Records, providing the label with several good-sellers, the biggest being The Lovin' Machine, a Top Ten hit in 1966. The Little Darlin' recordings were all stone country, honky-tonk, driven by Paycheck's keening hillbilly vocals and the superb steel guitar work of a young Lloyd Green. In a just world, they would all have been big sellers. They certainly stood out at a time when string-laden pop-country ruled the airwaves. It was around this time that Paycheck also made the grade as a songwriter, his Apartment No. 9 affording Tammy Wynette her first hit. Touch My Heart, another of his compositions, provided Ray Price with a Top Ten hit.

Little Darlin' folded at the end of the 1960s, a period during which Paycheck had become a self-confessedpaycheck-anderson.jpg (12571 bytes) alcoholic and hit rock-bottom. He proved not to be a quitter, though, and he made a celebrated comeback, teaming up with Billy Sherrill on Epic. His debut single for the label, She's All I Got, became a number two hit in 1971 and was quickly followed by another Top 10 hit, Someone To Give My Love To. Over the course of the next few years he was hardly out of the charts - finally Paycheck was becoming a star. Though he appeared to be off the booze, his wild ways had not changed all that much. He was convicted of cheque forgery, and in 1976 was saddled with a paternity suit, tax problems, and bankruptcy. Then, after a couple of lean years on the charts, he bounced back with a harder-edged sound and image. 1976's 11 Months And 29 Days (which happened to be the length of his suspended sentence for passing that bad cheque) featured a cover image of Paycheck in a jail cell. He notched up three major hit singles with Slide Off Your Satin Sheets, I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised) and Take This Job And Shove It; the latter, one of David Allan Coe's anti-establishment anthems, became one of the year's biggest sellers. Paycheck’s records were like parodies of his lifestyle, as the titles Me and the I.R.S. and D.O.A. (Drunk on Arrival) indicated. His unruly behaviour once again had an impact on his chart success. A flight attendant sued him for slander after he began a fight on an aeroplane, and he was arrested for alleged rape (the charges were later reduced). By 1982 Epic had had enough, and he was dropped from the label.

Johnny Paycheck moved over to AMI, where he had a number of small hit singles between 1984 and 1985. Then came that infamous bar-room brawl with a complete stranger in Hillsboro, Ohio, which ended with Paycheck shooting and injuring his opponent. While appealing his nine-year prison sentence for aggravated assault, he recorded for Mercury Records, making the Top 20 with Old Violin in 1986. His appeals ran their course and he was sent to the Chillicothe Correctional Institute in 1989. He spent two years behind bars and even got to perform a prison concert with Merle Haggard, before being released on parole in January of 1991. Known for years as a renegade and victim of drugs and booze, Paycheck came out of prison clean. By 1993 he was headlining in Branson, Missouri and recording for the small Playback Records. In recent years he has suffered with poor health mainly based around asthma and emphysema. In January 1998 he was airlifted to hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after suffering a severe asthma attack. He had recently signed with the Sony Music Nashville imprint Lucky Dog Records. Blake Chancey was due to produce the new Paycheck album, his first since 1987, but continuing ill health has put the project on hold. All too often, Paycheck's headlining exploits have over-shadowed his musical achievements. It is a great pity, for it just so happens that he remains one of the mightiest honky-tonk singers of his time.

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Paycheck Update

This article came out of Associated Press in April of 2002 and is the most current information we have available.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- Johnny PayCheck, one of country music's true outlaws, is short of breath and struggling to concentrate on the conversation. 

His emphysema and asthma have worsened, and he's now bedridden in a nursing home.

A bout with an infection of his lower intestine a few years ago made it all the way to his lungs, and the 63-year-old singer has never fully recovered, explains his manager, Marty Martel.

"We're hopeful that therapy can help. He's tired of laying in that ... bed," Martel said. 

During his up-and-down career, PayCheck has recorded dozens of hits, including "She's All I Got" and "Old Violin," but he's best known for "Take This Job and Shove It," which became a national catch phrase in 1977 and was the basis of a 1981 movie.

"Well, I'd like to be remembered by all my work, instead of one song," PayCheck said. "But a lot of times you get tagged that way. Maybe with this compilation album, people will hear the body of the work."

Country music at its best

His new 23-song CD, "The Soul & the Edge: The Best of Johnny PayCheck," is country music at its best, dealing with adult issues such as drinking, cheating and love gone wrong. It includes "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets," "I've Seen Better Days" and "Colorado Cool-Aid."

One single from 1977, "I Did the Right Thing" by Bobby Braddock, deals with the pain of NOT cheating. PayCheck interprets lyrics such as "I went home to my wife, straightened up my life" into an anguished cry of pain. The song points out that doing the right thing doesn't always make one happy.

"Oh yeah," PayCheck said, with his now weakened voice. "That came across good. That was one of my favorites."

PayCheck was born Donald Lytle in Greenfield, Ohio. He began playing guitar as a child, left home as a teenager to wander, and then joined the Navy. He was court-martialed for hitting an officer and spent two years in a military prison.

After he arrived in Nashville -- where he took the name Donnie Young -- he began writing songs and working in the bands of stars such as George Jones, Porter Wagoner and Ray Price. Two record deals came and went.

Then Aubrey Mayhew agreed to manage him, and his name was changed to Johnny PayCheck. On Mayhew's Little Darlin' label, he pushed the boundaries of country music with a series of singles including "The Cave," about the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, and "(Pardon Me) I've Got Someone to Kill." (Regrettably, those early classics aren't included on the new CD.)

Renewing a career

But his career all but disappeared in the late '60s as he sank into alcohol and drug addiction. Tracked down by a record company executive in Los Angeles, he went into rehabilitation and launched a comeback on Epic Records, aided by producer Billy Sherrill.

In 1971, "She's All I Got" made it to No. 2 on the Billboard country singles chart, and PayCheck was a regular hit-maker for the next decade.

"I think my best times were in the '70s, when I made the comeback," PayCheck said. "Then there was '76, when 'Shove It' came along."

His addictions and related health problems caused his career to fade again in the 1980s, except for the superlative 1986 single "Old Violin." He toured when his health allowed into the 1990s.

Through it all, PayCheck's singing has been consistently cited as an influence by older stars such as Jones and Merle Haggard, and younger singers as well.

Daryle Singletary recorded PayCheck's "A-11" and "Old Violin" for his new album, "That's Why I Sing This Way." PayCheck does a short recitation on Singletary's "Old Violin."

"I've played that song at every live show I've done for years," Singletary said of "Old Violin."

"I'm a fan of great singers, and so I've been to a number of Johnny PayCheck shows.

"I've heard him sing 'Old Violin,' 'I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)' and 'A-11' many times, and he never sings them the same way twice. That shows emotion, soul singing from the heart."

PayCheck says he would like to sing that way again, but isn't sure of the prospects.

"I'm a little sluggish, always tired," he said. "I get tired pretty easy."  

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Discography of Johnny Paycheck

1966 Johnny Paycheck at Carnegie Hall [live] 1966  The Lovin' Machine
1967  Country Soul 1967  Gospel Tme in My Fashion
1967  Jukebox Charlie 1967 Johnny Paycheck Sings Jukebox Charlie
1969  Wherever You Are 1970  Again
1971 She's All I Got 1972  Someone to Give My Love To
1972 Somebody Loves Me 1973 Mr. Lovemaker
1974 Country Spotlight 1974  Song & Dance Man
1977 Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets 1978 Take This Job & Shove It [Epic]
1979  11 Months and 29 Days 1979  Bars, Booze & Blondes
1979 Armed and Crazy 1980  Everybody's Got a Family, Meet Mine
1980 New York Town [live] 1981 Encore
1981  Mr. Hag Told My Story 1982  Extra Special
1984  I Don't Need to Know That Right Now 1984  Back on the Job
1986  Hell Raisers 1987 Modern Times
1988  Take This Job & Shove It [Richmond] 1992  Take This Job & Shove It [Laserlight]
1993 Live In Branson, MO, USA 1995 Difference in Me
1995 Johnny Paycheck Hits Home 1996 Sings George Jones
1996  I'm a Survivor 1999 Live at Gilley's
2001 Survivor 2002 The Soul & The Edge: The Best of Johnny Paycheck

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Paycheck's latest CD

The Soul & The Edge: The Best of Johnny Paycheck

1. Take This Job And Shove It 2. 11 Months And 29 Days 3. I'm The Only Hell (My Mama Ever Raised)   4. Slide Off Your Satin Sheets
5. She's All I Got     6. Ragged Old Truck   7. Colorado Cool-Aid    8. Fifteen Beers
9. I've Seen Better Days 10. Someone To Give My Love To 11. My Part Of Forever   12. Yesterday's News Just Hit Home Today    
13. (Stay Away From) The Cocaine Train Live     14. Me And The I.R.S. Live 15. The Feminine Touch   16. You Better Move On duet with George Jones
17. I Did The Right Thing   18. When I Had A Home To Go To     19. Barstool Mountain     20. I Can See Me Lovin' You Again    
21. Old Violin 22. All Night Lady    3. The Outlaw's Prayer

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PAYCHECK'S BMI SONG LIST

This is a list of song's written by Johnny Paycheck as found on BMI's website. The titles, as written, are the correct and legal titles described by BMI. This is not, however, a complete list of songs written by, or co-written, Johnny. 

Cocaine Train Friend Lover Wife Heart He Kicks Around I Haven't Found Her Yet
I'll Still Look Up to You I'm A Coward I Sleep With Her Memory Every I've Got Them Lookin' In The Mi
I Wish My Mind Would Just Stay If You Could Hold My Heart For In Memory Of A Memory Just Cookin'
Just Makin' Love Don't Make It Leave It To Me Live With Me Live With Me Til I Can Learn T
Mainline Memory Of A Memory No Way Out Old Violin
Rode On Sonny Sharon Rae She's Still Lookin' Good Stay Away From the Cocaine Train
Step Into My Soul That's What The Outlaws In Texas This Time I'm Walking Out Before To Be So Bad
We're On Fire Again Whatever It Takes To Make You Woman Who Put Me Here Woman You Better Love Me
You Hurt The Love Right Out Of Me

columbus dispatch article

May 21, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Johnny PayCheck, one of country music's true outlaws, was short of breath and struggling to concentrate on the conversation.

His emphysema and asthma have worsened, and he's bedridden in a nursing home.

An infection of his lower intestine a few years ago reached his lungs, and the 63-year-old singer has never fully recovered, explained his manager, Marty Martel.

"We're hopeful that therapy can help. He's tired of laying in that bed," Martel said.

During his up-and-down career, PayCheck has recorded dozens of hits, including She's All I Got and Old Violin, but he's best-known for Take This Job and Shove It, which became a national catchphrase in 1977 and was the basis of a 1981 movie.

"Well, I'd like to be remembered by all my work, instead of one song," PayCheck said. "But a lot of times you get tagged that way. Maybe with this compilation album, people will hear the body of the work." 

His new 23-song disc, The Soul & the Edge: The Best of Johnny PayCheck, is country music at its best, dealing with drinking, cheating and love gone wrong. It includes Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets, I've Seen Better Days and Colorado Cool-Aid.

One single from 1977, I Did the Right Thing by Bobby Braddock, deals with the pain of not cheating. PayCheck interprets lyrics such as "I went home to my wife, straightened up my life" into an anguished cry. The song points out that doing the right thing doesn't always make one happy. 

"Oh, yeah," PayCheck said in his weakened voice, "that came across good. That was one of my favorites." 

PayCheck was born Donald Lytle in Greenfield, Ohio. He began playing guitar as a child, left home as a teen-ager to wander, then joined the Navy. He was court-martialed for hitting an officer and spent two years in a military prison. 

After he arrived in Nashville -- where he took the name Donnie Young -- he began writing songs and working in the bands of stars such as George Jones, Porter Wagoner and Ray Price. Two record deals came and went. 

Then Aubrey Mayhew agreed to manage him, and his name was changed to Johnny PayCheck. On Mayhew's Little Darlin' label, he pushed the boundaries of country music with a series of singles including The Cave, about the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, and (Pardon Me) I've Got Someone To Kill. (Regrettably, those early classics aren't included on the new compact disc.) 

But his career all but disappeared in the late '60s as he sank into alcohol and drug addiction. He went into rehabilitation and launched a comeback on Epic Records, aided by producer Billy Sherrill. 

In 1971, She's All I Got made it to No. 2 on the Billboard country singles chart, and PayCheck was a star for the next decade. 

"I think my best times were in the '70s, when I made the comeback," PayCheck said. "Then there was '76, when Shove It came along." 

His addictions and related health problems caused his career to fade again in the 1980s, except for the superlative 1986 single Old Violin. In the 1990s, he toured when his health allowed. 

PayCheck's singing has been consistently cited as an influence by older stars such as Jones and Merle Haggard and younger singers as well.

Daryle Singletary recorded PayCheck's A-11 and Old Violin for his new album, That's Why I Sing This Way. PayCheck performs a short recitation on Singletary's Old Violin.  "I've played that song at every live show I've done for years," Singletary said of Old Violin. 

"I'm a fan of great singers, and so I've been to a number of Johnny PayCheck shows.

"I've heard him sing Old Violin, I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised) and A-11 many times, and he never sings them the same way twice. That shows emotion, soul, singing from the heart." 

PayCheck says he would like to sing that way again but isn't sure of the prospects.

"I'm a little sluggish, always tired," he said. "I get tired pretty easy."

  

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