June 28, 2019
CMA Award winning and Grammy nominated songwriter Gary Harrison came to Nashville from Memphis in 1973 to attend college. He also had a vague notion of somehow being a part of the music industry. In 1976, four-time CMA entertainer of the year Barbara Mandrell became the first in a long line to record his songs. Two years later Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius had a number one single with "Lying in Love with You". It was co-written with hall of fame songwriter Dean Dillon and was he and Harrison's first hit record.
Since then over 300 of his songs have been recorded by major label artists. He has now had hits in five different decades and his songs have appeared on over 100 million albums. Without interruption, from 1990 until 1998 at least one of his songs was continuously on The Billboard magazine singles chart.
He has received many BMI awards over the years and twelve of his songs have attained BMI million-air status given to works that have been performed in excess of one million times on radio and television. He is a past winner of the CMA triple play award given for achieving three number one singles within a twelve month period. In 1997, he received the CMA award for Song of the Year for "Strawberry Wine" performed by Deana Carter.
A few of his hits include "The Wrong Side of Memphis" and "Everybody Knows" by Trisha Yearwood, "Wild Angels" by Martina Mcbride, "Hey Cinderella" by Suzy Bogguss, "I Just Wanted You to Know" by Mark Chesnutt and "I Hate Everything" by George Strait. Some of the many other artists who have recorded his songs include Tim McGraw , Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, Conway Twitty and Keith Whitley.
He also served as Senior Director of A&R at Mercury Nashville records from 1994 to 2002 where he was involved in the musical direction of the careers of Kathy Mattea, Terri Clark, Sammy Kershaw, Billy Ray Cyrus and Mark Wills.