Joe South, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and session musician who penned such hits as "Games People Play" and "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," died Wednesday in Buford, Ga. He was 72.

A veteran of celebrated session bands in Atlanta, Nashville and Muscle Shoals, South's successes throughout the 1960s and early '70s were considerable, especially as a songwriter, though his career as a solo artist was rather short-lived.

Born Joseph Alfred Souter in Atlanta, South experienced his first taste of notoriety when he wrote novelty tune "The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor" in 1958, followed by two songs for rockabilly star Gene Vincent. Later on in the 1960s, South's stints as a sideman saw him cut guitar parts for classic albums like Aretha Franklin's "Lady Soul" and Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde," while Billy Joe Royal's recording of his song "Down in the Boondocks" reached No. 8 on the national charts in 1967.

Another of his compositions for Royal, "Hush," became the breakout hit for then-nascent British heavy metal act Deep Purple in 1968.

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