George Richey

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George Richey
George Richey 1967.JPG
Richey in 1967.
Background information
Born (1935-11-30)November 30, 1935
Promise Land, Arkansas, U.S.
Died July 31, 2010(2010-07-31) (aged 74)
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Songwriter, producer, session musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1960s–1990s
Associated acts Tammy Wynette, George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys, Faith Hill, Lorrie Morgan, Sonny James, Kenny Rogers, Charlie Rich, Lynn Anderson, Elton John, Roy Rogers, Ringo Starr, Martina McBride

George Richey (November 30, 1935 – July 31, 2010), born George Baker Richardson, was an American songwriter and record producer. He was born in Arkansas, but raised in Malden, Missouri.

Richey was married to country legend singer/songwriter Tammy Wynette from 1978 until her death in 1998. They had no children. He married Dallas Cowboys cheerleader turned television producer Sheila Slaughter in 2001 with whom he had daughter Tatum. He remained married to Slaughter until his death 2010. Tim McGraw sang at their intimate wedding outside of Nashville.

Richey was a mainstay of the Nashville country music community since the 1960s through his songwriting and record production. Head of Columbia Records. In the 1970s, he wrote many major hits for future wife Tammy Wynette and Wynette's then-husband, George Jones, including Jones' "A Picture of Me (Without You)" and "The Grand Tour," and Wynette's "'Til I Can Make It On My Own" and "You and Me", among many other artists.

Richey served as the musical director for the television show Hee Haw from 1970 to 1977. Upon marrying Wynette, Richey served as Wynette's manager during the 1980s. George Richey was considered one of Nashville's most gifted piano players, producers and songwriters.

George Richey continued to garner great support from the Nashville and country music community. The letters, emails and person-to-person engagement he received overwhelmed him with gratitude after Tammy's death in 1998. He was a very devoted Christian, as he grew up a Baptist minister's son. It was his faith in God, his family and his undying love for music that kept him going. He was totally eaten up with music. It has been said that there are only a few music men born with such talent every 100 years; George Richey was one of them.

Before his death he wanted to ensure the posterity of his late wife, Tammy Wynette. This led him to partner with The Country Music Hall of Fame. He spent the last few years of his life preparing and ensuring that Tammy's legacy would remain intact. The massive bulk of all Tammy Wynette's personal belongings and every piece of her professional memorabilia is in the well-respected hands of The Country Music Hall of Fame, where Tammy is honored to be a member.

George Richey was known for his caring ways and flair for style; he had a swagger all of his own. His personality was as big as his musical prowess. You were either scared to death of him or considered him the greatest man alive. He spent much of his later years recording, writing and documenting his experiences in country music. Those recordings are being documented for release. While many of his country music partners, including Tammy Wynette and George Jones, have had their demons publicly documented firsthand, little of George Richey's own personal struggles with alcohol and smoking were publicly acknowledged until the end of his life. He wanted his private struggles to positively affect others looking to overcome their own addictions to smoking and alcohol. George became a social media advocate with his highly popular Facebook page "DON'T SMOKE, DON'T SMOKE, DON'T SMOKE, IT WILL DESTROY YOUR LIFE".[1]

He is survived by his wife Sheila Richey and their daughter Tatum, as well his children from his first marriage, son Kelly Richardson and an adopted daughter, Deirdre Hale, as well as hundreds of family members and friends from all over the world.[2]

Richey died peacefully on July 31, 2010, following a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There was no public memorial per his request, and he was buried peacefully in Nashville near Wynette.[3]


  1. ^ "Tammy Wynette Widower George Richey's Death Reported", Accessed 8-18-2010.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Cooper, Peter, "Producer, songwriter, Tammy Wynette widower George Richey dies", The Tennesseean, August 16, 2010. Accessed 8-18-2010. Notice of George Richey's death at the Wayback Machine (archived August 19, 2010)