Mac Gayden

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Mac Gayden
OriginNashville, Tennessee, United States
GenresR&B, pop, folk, roots
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsGuitar, slide guitar, banjo
Years active1960s–present
LabelsWild Child Records
Associated actsArea Code 615
Barefoot Jerry Skyboat, Zenphonic, Oceana Gayden

McGavock Dickinson Gayden is an American rock and country singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is also president of Wild Child Records, formed in 2004.[1]


Mac Gayden was born in [Nashville, Tennessee]. Mac played with Charlie McCoy and the Escorts and that group started playing many sessions in Nashville. In the late 1960s , he helped establish two critically acclaimed bands, [[Area Code 615 (band). Area Code 615 (signed with Polydor) and [Barefoot Jerry] (signed with Capitol Records), in which he wrote the songs, played guitars and sang. Gayden left Barefoot Jerry in 1971 to record his first solo album with Bob Johnston/producer whom he had worked with on the Dylan (Blonde on Blonde) album, and Johnston asked to produce the solo album on Gayden (McGavock Gayden. EMI). Gayden formed his own band, Skyboat in 1972 and recorded two albums for ABC Records. He also served as producer of an album by Dianne Davidson (Baby) and one by Steve Young (To Satisfy You). Mac has recorded as a session guitar player with JJ Cale, John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Simon and Garfunkel, Kris Kristofferson,Steve Young, Rita Coolidge, Joe Simon, The Valentines, Elvis Presley, Ian and Sylvia, Jerry Jeff Walker, Loudon Wainwright, Connie Francis, The Alarm, Pearls before Swine, Ivory Joe Hunter, Robert Knight (Everlasting Love), Clifford Curry (She Shot A Hole in my Soul), Bobby Vinton and more. Mac recorded a lot with Billy Sherrill who produced many hits.

When Mac was five he started a song on his grandmothers piano (Everlasting Love), when he heard Robert Knights voice while he was performing at a frat house at Vanderbilt next to the one Robert's band was playing in, he ran over introduced himself and told Robert he had a song for him, he got together with Robert and began pulling in the pieces of the song he started at 5 and more, brought in his friend Buzz Cason, he and Buzz produced "Everlasting Love" it was Robert's first hit, then another song Mac wrote "Rainbow Valley". When Mac was introduced to Clifford Curry he presented another song he wrote "She Shot A Hole in My Soul", that started Clifford career and a hit. Mac produced The Valentines an R&B group on his song "Gotta Get Yourself Together". All these songs were included on the Grammy winning album produced by the Country Music Hall of Fame "Night Train to Nashville".

Mac recorded, one album on EMI "McGavock Gayden, two on ABC Records, "Skyboat", and "Hymn to the Seeker" (which he recorded in Miami at Criteria with Fleetwood Mac doing Rumours in one studio and The Eagles doing Hotel California in the other--Randy Meisner from the Eagles sang background with Mac on some songs. One album on Winter Harvest "Nirvana Blues" and one album on Arena Records "Come Along" 2020.

Mac was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Cats in 2014 with a ceremony at The Country Music Hall of Fame, and was also included in the Dylan/Cash exhibit for over six years and played many concerts for that exhibit 2014. His guitar and wah wah pedal were on exhibit at the Hall of Fame as he innovated the slide wah technique on the JJ Cale song "Crazy Mama". Mac is known for his songwriting and his guitar playing all over the world. Mac Gayden published a book called “The Missing String Theory - A Musicians Uncommon Spiritual Journey” which is an autobiography.

Biggest hit[edit]

Gayden's biggest hit as a writer is considered to be the song "Everlasting Love", which he co-wrote with Buzz Cason, recorded originally by Robert Knight, a Top 20 hit in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. It became a number one hit in the United Kingdom when covered by the Love Affair in January 1968. Carl Carlton's popular rock version was a number six hit in the U.S. in 1974 and has logged over five million plays, according to BMI. Gayden wrote part of the song when he was five years old on his grandmother's piano. The song is one of two that has had hit status every decade for the last four. Gayden was performing at a fraternity house at Vanderbilt, when on break he heard the voice of Robert Knight at another frat house, ran down and introduced himself, and got together with Knight to write a song for his voice. He then proceeded to meet with Knight, and finish up the song with a friend Buzz. Gayden is known for his R&B hits and influences.

Other recordings of "Everlasting Love"[edit]

Many artists have recorded the song, including German singer Sandra, who had a hit with it in Germany and all across Europe in 1987, and Gloria Estefan, who reached the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1995. U2 recorded the song on the B-side of "All I Want is You", Jamie Cullum had a hit with the song in 2009, and it was used in the films Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (two versions were used), America's Sweethearts, Forces of Nature, and Veronica Guerin.

Other songs[edit]

Gayden wrote another hit entitled "She Shot a Hole in My Soul" recorded by Clifford Curry, also covered by the Box Tops. Gayden as a writer favored R&B music; as he said, "Nashville was an R&B rivertown, until country music came in and started giving the blues artists on the street citations for playing on the street and then called it a Country Music Town." Gayden wrote songs for several black singing groups, Robert Knight (see above), the Valentines, and Clifford Curry, who in 2009 was honored in a compilation CD, Night Train to Nashville and won a Grammy. Gayden performed with Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys, John Hiatt, Loudon Wainwright, Joe Simon, Ivory Joe Hunter, Margie Hendrixs, Kris Kristofferson, Gregg and Duane Allman, Steve Young, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ian & Sylvia, Elvis Presley, Hoyt Axton, Leonard Cohen, and Simon & Garfunkel among others. Gayden has written country hits for Bobby Bare and Porter Wagoner.

Guitar work[edit]

Gayden is also a session guitarist and is renowned for his innovative wah-wah slide guitar technique, as showcased on the early 1970s J. J. Cale hit "Crazy Mama".[2] He also wrote a number of successful songs, including "Hayride", which was a major Australian hit for Flying Circus. "La La" was an even bigger hit. He also co-wrote and co-produced Robert Knight's "Love on a Mountain Top". Simon Cowell recorded Gayden's "Love on a Mountaintop" on Sinitta (Top 20, 1989). When Gayden played on Bob Dylan's album Blonde on Blonde, Dylan's producer Bob Johnston asked to produce an album for him; the album, McGavock Gayden, was released by EMI Records.


Gayden is currently producing groups, one is his daughter Oceana Gayden, and has performed at Bonnaroo and other festivals with her. The other group he is working with now is a group called Sweetwater Rose, which he put together and produced and is currently performing with. 2020 Mac has a new album out called "Come Along" on Arena Records, and is recording a family revolutionary album about the times. In the past five years Mac has tried to help young artist by producing music on them, and helping them write: Alexis Saski, Olivia Jones, Bailey Hyneman


Gayden practices Transcendental Meditation, and he and his family have performed numerous times at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and also in support of the David Lynch Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing the practice of meditation to under-performing public schools.[3] His music has sometimes reflected this personal dimension. (See "Waterboy", "Diamond Mandala", and "The Minstrel Is Free at Last" on Skyboat and Hymn to the Seeker.)


  • McGavock Gayden (produced by Bob Johnston)
  • Skyboat
  • Hymn to the Seeker
  • Nirvana Blues (CD)
  Barefoot Jerry, Southern Delight (founding member (wrote 8 out of ten songs on album)
  Area Code 615, Trippin in the Country
  Area Code 615
  Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde
  John Hiatt , Stolen Moments
  Jerry Jeff Walker
  Kris Kristofferson, several albums
  JJ Cale, Rewind, Naturally (slide guitar on Crazy Mama)
  Linda Ronstadt, Silk Purse
  Zenphonic, Cyber Gypsies
  Loudon Wainwright
  Steve Young
  Simon and Garfunkel
  Pearls before Swine
  Robert Knight , Everlasting Love (wrote)
  Clifford Curry, She Shot A Hole In My Soul (wrote)
  The Alarm
  Dianne Davidson, Baby and Mountain Mama
  Sweetwater Rose, Spirit Horse
  Bobby Bare
  Ray Charles
  Tracy Nelson

More listed at


  1. ^ "Wild Child Records". Wild Child Records. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  2. ^ "Mac Gayden legendary slide wah guitarist song writer Everlasting Love". Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  3. ^ "Interview with Mac Gayden". Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2013.

External links[edit]