Tom T. Hall, the singer, songwriter, and Country Music Hall of Famer, died at home in Franklin, Tennessee on Friday, August 20. He was 85.

A prolific songwriter known for his storytelling skills, Hall was once called “The Storyteller” by contemporary Tex Ritter. He was responsible for hits like “That’s How I Got to Memphis”, “I Love” and Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 pop-country crossover “Harper Valley PTA”, which was later adapted for film and television.

Born on May 25, 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Hall played in a band and worked as a DJ before joining the Army in 1957. He was working on the radio when a publisher heard his song “DJ for a Day” and brought back Jimmy C. Newman, who helped Hall get his first Top 10 hit. He wrote several number one songs including “Hello Vietnam,” “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine,” “I Love,” “Country Is,” and “Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet). ”

Hall signed with Mercury Records in 1967 and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1971. It was nominated for six Grammys and won for Best Album Notes for Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits in 1972. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978, the Kentucky Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

His penchant for storytelling was not limited to songs. Hall published five books in his life, from Memoirs (1979 The Storyteller’s Nashville) to How-To (1976’s How I Write Songs, Why You Can).