Mark Gray (1952 - 2016)

Mark Gray, a country music singer-songwriter who co-wrote No. 1 hit songs for Alabama, died Dec. 2, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 64.

Gray was a member of the country pop band Exile before he launched his career as a solo artist for Columbia Records. Gray was with Exile from 1979 to 1982.

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Gray released three albums and recorded eight country hits that reached the Top 40. His duet with Tammy Wynette, a cover of the Dan Hill song "Sometimes When We Touch," reached No. 6, his highest hit. The country group Alabama had two No. 1 hits with "Take Me Down" and "The Closer You Get," which Gray co-wrote. Gray also co-wrote "It Ain't Easy Being Easy," a No. 1 hit for Janie Fricke, and "Second Hand Heart" for Gary Morris.

Gray's solo albums were "Magic" (1984), "This Ol' Piano" (1984), and "That Feeling Inside" (1986). Each of the albums reached the country Top 40.

Besides "Sometimes When We Touch," Gray saw four other songs reach the U.S. country top-10 singles chart as a solo artist: "Left Side of the Bed," "If All the Magic Is Gone," "Diamond in the Dust," and "Please Be Love."

Mark Eugene Gray was born Oct. 24, 1952, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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