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Joe South, Singer And Writer of Hit Songs, Dies at 72

Joe South, a singer-songwriter who wove confrontational lyrics into bouncy pop hits of the late 1960s and early ’70s, including “Games People Play,” “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” and “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” died on Wednesday at home in Flowery Branch, Ga., north of Atlanta. He was 72.

The cause was apparently a heart attack, said Judy Thompson, a longtime friend.

Mr. South’s best-known song became a hit when it was recorded by someone else. “Rose Garden,” sung by Lynn Anderson, reached No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart in 1971, four years after Mr. South wrote it. The chorus — “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden/Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime” — reflected a world-weariness characteristic of his writing.

In 1969 he targeted religion and insincerity in “Games People Play,” which thrust him toward stardom:

People walking up to you

Singing glory hallelujah,

And they’re tryin’ to sock it to you

In the name of the Lord.

Source: New York Times

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