Joe South | Songwriter | Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Elvis Presley performed land recorded live Joe Souths socially provocative 'Walk a Mile in My Shoes'.
Joe South (February 28, 1940 - September 5, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Best known for his songwriting with many other artists having the hits with his songs. South won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1970 for 'Games People Play' [The song was covered by Waylon Jennings] and was again nominated for the award in 1972 for 'Rose Garden'.
Born Joseph Alfred Souter, South started his pop career in July 1958 with the novelty hit 'The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor'. After this hit, South's music grew increasingly serious.
In 1959, South wrote two songs which were recorded by Gene Vincent: 'I Might Have Known', which was on the album Sounds Like Gene Vincent (Capitol Records, 1959) and 'Gone Gone Gone' which was included on the album The Crazy Beat of Gene Vincent (Capitol Records, 1963).
South was also a prominent sideman, playing guitar on Aretha Franklin's 'Chain of Fools', Tommy Roe's 'Sheila', and Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde' album. Some list South on the electric guitar part that was added to Simon & Garfunkel's first hit, 'The Sounds of Silence', although others credit Al Gorgoni and/or Vinnie Bell instead.
Billy Joe Royal recorded four South songs: 'Down in the Boondocks', 'I Knew You When', 'Yo-Yo' (later a hit for The Osmonds), and 'Hush' (later a hit for Deep Purple, Somebody's Image with Russell Morris and Kula Shaker).
Responding to late 1960s issues, South's style changed radically, most evident in his biggest single, 1969's pungent, no-nonsense 'Games People Play' (purportedly inspired by Eric Berne's book of the same name), a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Accompanied by a lush string sound, an organ, and brass, the production won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. South followed up with 'Birds of a Feather' (originally 'Bubbled Under' at No. 106 on February 10 - 17, 1968, more successful as a cover by 'The Raiders' that peaked on the Hot 100 at No. 23 on October 23 - 30, 1971) and two other soul-searchers, the back-to-nature 'Don't It Make You Want to Go Home' (also covered eight months later by Brook Benton With The Dixie Flyers) and the socially provocative 'Walk a Mile in My Shoes' (also covered by Elvis Presley in a Las-Vegas era version, Bryan Ferry, and Coldcut).
South's most commercially successful composition was Lynn Anderson's 1971 country/pop monster hit, 'Rose Garden', which was a hit in 16 countries worldwide. Anderson won a Grammy Award for her vocals, and South earned two Grammy Nominations for it, as Best Country Song and (general) Song of the Year. South wrote more hits for Anderson, such as 'How Can I Unlove You' (Billboard Country No. 1) and 'Fool Me' (Billboard Country No. 3). Freddy Weller, Jeannie C. Riley, and Penny DeHaven also had hits on the Billboard country chart with South songs. In addition, other artists who have recorded South penned songs include Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Carol Burnett, Andy Williams, Kitty Wells, Dottie West, Jim Nabors, Liz Anderson and K.D. Lang, although most covered versions of South's best known songs.
South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and became a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1981.
Joe South died at his home in Flowery Branch, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta, on September 5, 2012, of heart failure. He was 72.
Walk A Mile In My Shoes
If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other's mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you'd be
I believe you'd be surprised to see
That you've been blind
Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes
Now if we spend the day
Throwin' stones at one another
'Cause I don't think, 'cause I don't think
Or wear my hair the same way you do
Well, I may be common people
But I'm your brother
And when you strike out
You're tryin' to hurt me
It's hurtin' you, Lord how mercy
Now there are people on reservations
And out in the ghetto
And brother there, but, for the grace of God
Go you and I,
If I only had wings of a little angel
Don't you know, I'd fly
To the top of a mountain
And then I'd cry, cry, cry
Recorded: 1970/02/19, first released on On Stage
Find on CD : Live Recording
Elvis : On Stage February 1970 CD (Bonus Tracks)