Ted Harris

Induction Year: 1990

Birth Name: Theodore Clifford Harris

Birth Date: 08-02-1937

Place of Birth: Lakeland, Florida

Death Date: 11-22-2015

Place of Death: Lewisburg, Tennessee

As a kid growing up in a small town in Florida, Ted Harris was surrounded by music. His dad played violin and guitar, and his mom played piano. Every Saturday night, the family tuned in to the Grand Ole Opry. By the time Ted was eight years old, he was learning chords on the guitar, and at 12 he wrote his first song.

After high school, he started a job with the local newspaper, but his passion for music would not be denied. In 1958, the 20-year-old Harris took a wild chance and moved to Nashville, not knowing a soul. Hank Snow was his favorite artist, so shortly after arriving, Harris dropped in to Snow's music-publishing company, Silver Star. Fate was on his side, because he met songwriter Ted Daffan ("Born to Lose," "I'm a Fool to Care"), who heard something in the kid's songs and took him under his wing. "Whatever Ted said, I listened to, because he was successful," Harris said.

For the next seven years, Harris held down a job in the grocery business. Coming and going to work, he would write his songs in the car. A few small cuts came his way. Then, in 1965, Carl Belew gave Harris his first big hit with "Crystal Chandelier" (the song went on to be recorded by many artists and in over 40 countries).

As his star rose, Harris co-founded his own publishing company, and his songs were recorded by the likes of Dottie West, Ferlin Husky, Charley Pride, Roy Drusky, Jack Greene, Jeannie Seely and Glen Campbell. By the end of the 1970s, he'd racked up 87 SESAC Awards, several NSAI Outstanding Achievement Awards and 120 cuts by major artists. Unusual for Nashville, then as today, Harris wrote by himself. He tried collaborating, but found that other writers didn't always agree with his standard for what made a great song. Simply stated, Harris defines that standard like this: "You find an idea, and you become a slave to that idea until you make it as absolutely amazing as you can."

Harris called his 1990 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame "a mountain-top experience." He retired in 2001 and sold his publishing company to Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Today, he still writes and performs occasionally, but is more excited about finding homes for what he calls the "lost treasures of his back catalog."

"Chasing a Rainbow"

Hank Snow1959 #6 country

"Country Music All Around the World"

Roy Drusky1965 

"Crystal Chandelier"

Carl Belew1965  #12 country
Vic Dana1965 #14 adult contemporary, #51 pop
Charley Pride1967 
Warner Mack1968 
Louis Armstrong1970 
Mac Wiseman1970 
Dickie Lee1972 
Floyd Cramer1973 
Johnny Russell1974 
Billie Jo Spears1981 

"Dark Side of Fame"

Waylon Jennings1967 

"Don't Feel Sorry for Me"

Connie Smith1968 

"God Must Have My Fortune Laid Away"

Johnny Cash1962 

"Handful of Stars"

Cal Smith1972 

"Here I Go Again"

Bobby Wright1971 #13 country
Lynn Anderson1971 
Del Reeves1971 
Nat Stuckey1972 

"I Hope You're Having Better Luck Than Me"

Crystal Gayle1972 #49 country

"Joy Ride"

Jack Greene1971 


Ferlin Husky1966 #4 country

"Paper Mansions"

Dottie West1967 #8 country
Kitty Wells1967 
Lynn Anderson1967 
Margie Singleton1967 
Jean Shepard1968 
Warner Mack1968 

"Picture of You"

Charlie Rich1970 

"Rainbows and Roses"

Roy Drusky1966 #20 country
Wilburn Brothers1967 
Vern Gosdin1985 


Hank Snow1966 
Porter Wagoner1967 

"The Fool I've Been Today"

Jack Greene1973 #40 country
Conway Twitty1975 

"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"

Glen Campbell & Steve Wariner1987 #6 country

"The Happiness of Havin' You"

Charley Pride1975 #3 country

"The One You Say Good Mornin' To"

Jimmy Dean1972 #38 country

"The True and Lasting Kind"

Bobby Lord1968 #49 country
Kitty Wells1968 
Johnny Duncan & June Sterns1969 
Ferlin Husky1969 

"Trouble with Girls"

Jean Shepard1968 

"Yesterday's Letters"

Bobby Lord1969 #40 country
Jack Greene1972 
Charlie Louvin1972 

"You and Me Against the World"

Bobby Lord1970 #15 country
Jimmy Dean & Dottie West1970 
Roy Rogers1971 
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely1973 
Helen Reddy1974 #1 adult contemporary, #9 pop

Ted Harris

Induction Year: 1990