Larry Lee Butler
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March 26, 1942 -
January 20, 2012
Larry Lee Butler, musician, songwriter and award-winning music producer, peacefully passed away in his sleep at his Pensacola home on Friday, January 20, 2012. He was 69 years old.
A native of Pensacola, Florida, he was born on March 26, 1942. By the age of six he was singing with the Harry James Orchestra. At nine years old he had his own show on Pensacola's WEAR-TV3. When he was thirteen years old he won a five-state talent contest in classical music by memorizing a thirty-six page piano concerto.
Larry became a sought-after Nashville session musician in his twenties, playing the piano on many of the biggest hit records by Nashville recording artists. He became a member of the 60's hit group, Ronny and the Daytonas, whose hits included Little GTO. He later joined another top rock group, The Gentry's, whose hits included Keep On Dancing. His career eventually turned to producing many of the top recording stars, including Johnny Cash, Sammy Davis Junior, Julie Andrews and Kenny Rogers, who Larry successfully transformed from a rock artist to a Country Music legend.
Earning over 100 gold and platinum record awards, Larry also won a Grammy Award for co-writing the 1975 Song of the Year, (Hey, Won't you Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song. In 1979 he won a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, the only Nashville producer to ever win the award. For his many accomplishments in the field of music, Larry was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from the University of West Florida.
When Hurricane Ivan devastated the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast in September 2004, Larry called upon friends like Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and Will Hedgecock, producing three sold-out concerts that brought more than half a million dollars into the community for rebuilding efforts.
In addition to his music career, Larry was proud to be a Master Mason, York Rite Mason and Shriner.
Larry is survived by his wife of 26 years, Peggy Maultsby Butler; daughter, Schanda Butler Olsson, son-in-law, Nigel, and grandson, Justin; sister, Alva Chop; mother and father-in-law, Roy and Allene Maultsby; brother-in-law, Andy and Anita Maultsby and countless family, friends and adoring fans.
Prior to Larry's passing, BJ Thomas, five-time Grammy-winning recording artist, including Larry's 1975 Grammy-winning Song of the Year, had this to say about Larry: "Larry has been a part of, and has made, some of the greatest music of our generation. And he has remained one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet."
Larry touched the lives of many not only with his music, but also with his warm smile and kind heart.
Family and friends are invited to attend Memorial Services to be held on Tuesday, January 24th at 11:11 am at the Perdido Bay Community Center, 13660 Innerarity Point Drive, Pensacola, FL 32507.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, 2012