(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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