Richard Fagan, co-writer of John Michael Montgomery early hits “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)” and “Be My Baby Tonight” died August 5th in Nashville of liver cancer. He was 69.

In his 40-year career as a composer, Fagan also penned Moe Bandy’s “Americana”, Clay Walker’s “Only On Days That End In Y” and many more.

Born April 24, 1947 in Philadelphia, Richard William Fagan was initially drawn to the city’s doo wop scene and sang in an amateur group while in junior high school. He served a term in the U.S. Army in Vietnam during the early 1970s, after which he returned to Philadelphia to work in music.

There he was discovered by music publisher Tom Oteri, who recorded the first demos of Fagan’s songs in 1976. In 1979, Fagan scored his first success when Neil Diamond recorded “The Good Lord Loves You” for his September Morn album. Released as a single in 1980, it reached No. 23 on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart.

Bob Gaudio, Diamond’s producer, helped get Fagan a recording contract with Mercury Records and produced his only album for that label, Richard Fagan, released in 1979.

After having spent the early half of the 1980s in Los Angeles focusing on pop music, Fagan relocated to Nashville in 1986. He achieved his first country hit that year when “Blue Suede Blues,” co-written with Patti Ryan and Mickey James, went No. 49 for Con Hunley.

Thanks to Edward Morris and CMT for this story.