Alex Harvey, a songwriter known of such hits as ‘Delta Dawn’ and ‘Reuben James,’ died April 4. The Highland Lakes resident’s songs were recorded by the likes of Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker, and Jimmy Buffett. He was still writing and performing when others had retired. He was 73.
Alex Harvey certainly had talent, but the Highland Lakes singer-songwriter who died recently attributed his success to something else entirely. The writer of classics such as “Delta Dawn” and “Reuben James” said hard work was the secret to any success, even his.
“People say you have to be born with it,” Harvey said about talent in a 2018 interview with The Picayune. “That’s bullcrap. You have to have drive and work at it.”
Harvey did just that. Singers such as Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, and Jimmy Buffett recorded his songs.
Harvey died April 4 at the age of 73.
The musician grew up outside of Memphis, Tennessee. His first performance was at 6 years old. He and his dad entered a contest singing “Little Brown Jug.” They placed third and Harvey just kept singing.
He developed his songwriting skills under the tutelage, and sometimes blunt, guidance of Billy Edd Wheeler, an award-winning songwriter who wrote “Jackson” (made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter) and “Coward of the County,” which became a movie.
Along with his singing and songwriting, Harvey acted in several movies and TV shows over the years.
His work ethic helped him write songs for a number of artists. More than 300 million recordings of his songs have been sold.
Even though Harvey worked hard at his music and the songs he penned, he never wrote a song he didn’t first feel in his heart.
“Anything that doesn’t come from the heart I don’t deal with it,” he said in 2018. “I have to talk to the Holy Spirit, and feel it, before I write anything.”