‘Drift Away’ Songwriter Mentor Williams Dies
Mentor Williams, an awarded singer-songwriter, has passed away. A family source tells Taos News that he died Wednesday (Nov. 16) at 6:15AM.
Born in 1946, Williams -- the brother of songwriter and actor Paul Williams -- was a staff writer at Almo-Irving in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. While splitting time between LA, Nashville and London, he produced for A&M, MCA, RSO and Columbia Records.
Williams is perhaps best known for writing Dobie Gray's Top 5, gold-certified 1973 hit "Drift Away;" the song has been covered by a number of acts and was re-recorded by Uncle Kracker in 2003 and became a No. 1 hit. However, he also penned tunes for Alabama ("When We Make Love"), Randy Travis and George Jones ("A Few Ole Country Boys") and Eddy Raven ("She's Gonna Win Your Heart").
Additionally, Williams produced works by Kim Carnes, John Stewart and his brother Paul, among others, and did work at the famous Record Plant and Apple Studios recording studios. He also served as a post-production remix engineer on The Muppet Movie and worked on the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid soundtrack.
During his career, Williams won numerous writing awards, as well as an honor from ASCAP in recognition of his 30 years of songwriting.
Taos News reports that Williams was a longtime resident of the Taos, N.M., area; he lived there with singer Lynn Anderson, with whom Williams was romantically involved until her death in 2015. Anderson's final single was “Drift Away Gospel," a re-imagined version of "Drift Away."
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