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Who Johnny Paycheck
When February 18, 2003
Where Nashville, TN
What Honky-tonk stylist and outlaw Johnny Paycheck dies after lengthy illness
 

(Excerpt from the article mentioned above)

Paycheck enjoyed reputation as 'honky-tonker'

By Tom Roland
For The Tennesseean

"All my friends are dressed in black and they're standing reverently
Let's have a few moments silence for the late and great me."

Johnny Paycheck examined the possibility of his own death a death caused by heartache in a 1960s recording called The Late and Great Me. That possibility came to pass, as Mr. Paycheck, 64, died in his sleep overnight Tuesday after a lengthy illness. The Grand Ole Opry, of which he was a member, confirmed his death, though no other details were immediately available.

Mr. Paycheck was best known for his 1977 recording of Take This Job and Shove It, a blue-collar anthem about a factory worker who fantasizes about revenge on his boss. When Mr. Paycheck's music had all but disappeared from the radio, Take This Job remained a calling card, played during the Friday drive home by stations ranging from country to Top 40 as a signal that the weekend had begun.

For many years, it seemed as if the weekend never ended for Mr. Paycheck. In 1987, before he began serving time in prison for shooting another man in the head during a barroom argument, he vowed to turn his life around. And, indeed, during the last decade-plus of his life, he claimed sobriety, achieving enough respectability that the conservative Grand Ole Opry added him to its membership.

Mr. Paycheck was born May 31, 1938, in Greenfield, Ohio, with the given name of Donald Eugene Lytle. He received his first guitar at age 6, entered talent contests before turning 10, and in his early teens, became a regular performer at Club 28, a Greenfield honky-tonk owned by family friend Paul Angel.

He became a regular guest on the Grand Ole Opry and was surprised when he was offered membership. He officially joined Nov. 8, 1997. He made several well-received nightclub appearances in Nashville that year, and closed the year as the opening act on Tim McGraw's New Year's Eve concert at the Nashville Arena.

But even as Mr. Paycheck's credibility rose, his health was deteriorating. Breathing problems repeatedly sent him to the hospital during the past few years, and he was unable to rally from emphysema.

Mr. Paycheck's final contribution as an performer was on Daryle Singletary's That's Why I Sing This Way album. Singletary re-recorded Mr. Paycheck's Old Violin and invited the old outlaw to supply the song's recitation. Mr. Paycheck recorded that part from his bed.

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