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J.D. Souther Biography

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Birth Name: John David Souther
Born: 1945/11/02
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Years Active: 1970s-present
Genres: Rock

John David Souther (commonly abbreviated as J. D. Souther) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and actor. He has written and co-written numerous hits songs recorded by artists such as Linda Ronstadt and Glen Frey of the Eagles.

Souther was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Amarillo, Texas. As a musician and songwriter, he was greatly influenced in his formative years by fellow Texas rock and roll icon, Roy Orbison. After moving to Los Angeles, California, in the late 1960s, he met Detroit musician and songwriter, Glenn Frey, and the two became roommates and musical collaborators. Their downstairs neighbor was Jackson Browne with whom both Souther and Frey would collaborate on numerous projects.

Shortly after meeting, Souther and Frey formed a folk duo called Longbranch Pennywhistle. Their lone album, released in 1970 on Jimmy Bowen's Amos Records, featured significant contributions from guitarists James Burton and Ry Cooder, fiddler Doug Kershaw, drummer Jim Gordon, pianist Larry Knechtel and bassist Joe Osborn.

After recording an eponymous solo album in 1972, persuaded by David Geffen, Souther teamed up with Chris Hillman and Richie Furay to form the Souther Hillman Furay Band The group released two albums, but creative tensions and lack of record sales led to the band's demise.

Souther is probably best known for his well-crafted songwriting abilities, especially in the field of country rock. He co-wrote some of the biggest hits for the Eagles, including “Best of My Love,” “Victim of Love,” “Heartache Tonight” and “New Kid in Town.”

“How Long,” which appeared on the Eagles “Long Road Out of Eden” was written by Souther and originally recorded on his first solo album in 1972. He also produced Linda Ronstadt's 1973 “Don't Cry Now” album, and wrote songs for several of Ronstadt's multi-platinum albums, including “Faithless Love” from “Heart Like a Wheel” and “White Rhythm and Blues” included in her “Living in the USA” album. He also recorded several notable duets with Ronstadt, including "”Hasten Down the Wind,” “Prisoner in Disguise” and “Sometimes You Can't Win.” He wrote “Run Like a Thief,” which appeared on “Home Plate” by Bonnie Raitt.

Souther has also contributed as a singer in works written by other artists, including backing vocals with Don Henley in “The Light Is On” by Christopher Cross on his 1979 eponymous debut album.

His biggest hit as a solo artist was his 1979 Orbison-influenced song “You're Only Lonely” from the album of the same name, which reached #7 on the Billboard charts. A collaboration with James Taylor called “Her Town Too” from Taylor's 1981 “Dad Loves His Work” album reached #11 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.

He was a contributor on the “Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night” 1987 concert and video, sang The Platters' “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” in the 1989 movie “Always” and sang the theme song to the 1989-1992 sitcom “Anything But Love.”

In October 2008 Souther released “If the World Was You,” his first new release in 25 years. In the fall of 2009, Souther released a follow up live album entitled “Rain - Live at the Belcourt Theatre,” featuring a blend of old and new material.