Notable Deaths ›

Mentor Williams (1946 - 2016)

Rick Diamond / WireImage / Getty Images

Mentor Williams (1946 - 2016)

Mentor Williams, a music producer and songwriter who penned the hit “Drift Away,” died Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, in Taos, New Mexico, according to multiple news sources. He was 70.

His brother, the singer-songwriter Paul Williams, told The Associated Press that Mentor had died after a battle with lung cancer.

Mentor Williams’ song “Drift Away,” recorded by singer Dobie Gray, reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts in 1973. A version of the song, performed by Uncle Cracker, reached No. 9 on the Billboard charts 30 years later, in 2003. Williams also rewrote part of the song for his longtime partner, country music singer Lynn Anderson, who recorded a gospel version for her final album before she died in 2015.


Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox.


 

Williams was born June 11, 1946, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Over his long career, he won more than 17 awards, including an ASCAP Award for his three decades of songwriting. In addition to “Drift Away,” he found chart success co-writing “A Few Ole Country Boys,” recorded by Randy Travis and George Jones, and “When We Make Love,” recorded by Alabama.

As a producer, he worked with a variety of artists including Paul McCartney, Kim Carnes, and his brother, Paul Williams.

“Thanks for the joy you’ve given me,” Paul Williams tweeted. “I want you to know I believe in your song.”

We invite you to share condolences for Mentor Williams in our Guest Book.