The songwriter behind number one tunes for Alabama and Janie Fricke is dead. Mark Gray passed away December 2nd in Lebanon, Tennessee at the age of 64. Gray sang gospel music in church as a youngster and moved to Nashville after being discovered by the Oak Ridge Boys. He then began to write for their publishing company and toured with them as a back-up singer. Gray co-wrote Alabama’s “Take Me Down” and “The Closer You Get,” in addition to Janie Fricke’s “It Ain’t Easy Being Easy.” Gray was also a member of Exile from 1979 to 1982.