Kim Williams

Induction Year: 2012

Birth Name: Kim Edwin Williams

Birth Date: 06-28-1947

Place of Birth: Kingsport, Tennessee

Death Date: 02-11-2016

Place of Death: Florida

Raised the fourth of eight children in a highly musical east Tennessee family, Kim Williams nearly perished in an electrical fire at a glass plant before going on to become a highly successful songwriter who penned hits for Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Joe Diffie, Rascal Flatts and many others.

Born Kim Edwin Williams, he played in bands throughout his youth and was writing songs by age 11. He later joined a variety of bands that played music throughout the South and Midwest, then got off the road when he married, started a family and took construction and electronic-technician jobs. The 1974 accident left him severely burned, and he underwent more than 200 surgeries in its aftermath. Many of his treatments were at Nashville's Vanderbilt Hospital, and being in Music City helped renew his interest in songwriting.

"I tell people that I got burned out on my last job, and decided to become a songwriter," he jokingly told journalist Rick Kelly. "I don't know if I'd ever have gotten back into music if I hadn't had that accident."

Williams took songwriting classes and began pitching songs, and in 1989 he signed with Tree International as a staff songwriter. His first major success came with "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," a #1 country hit for Joe Diffie in 1991. But by then, Williams had already developed the most crucial relationship in his career as a songwriter: befriending and co-writing with soon-to-be-superstar Garth Brooks. Brooks would go on to record numerous Kim Williams songs, including the #1 country hit "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up" and Top 5 hits "Papa Loved Mama," "It's Midnight Cinderella" and "She's Gonna Make It."

Williams' friendly, high-energy personality made him an ideal partner for other writers in the 1990s, when co-writing became the norm and solo writing became the exception. He arrived for writing appointments prepared with ideas, and prepared to run with others' title and narrative notions, and he was willing to write songs that were edgier than most by-committee endeavors. That willingness helped Williams' co-writes stand apart from others, and helped him to a place as ASCAP's 1994 Country Songwriter of the Year.

His smash 2003 hit "Three Wooden Crosses," recorded by Randy Travis, won top song honors from the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Gospel Music Association.
 

"A New Way to Fly"

(written with Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1990 

"Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up"

(written with Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1993 #1 country
 

"All of Me (Loves All of You)"

(written with Monty Holmes, L. David Lewis)

George Strait1992 
 

"Beer Run"

(written with Keith Anderson, Kent Blazy, George Ducas, Amanda Williams)

Garth Brooks & George Jones2001 #24 country
 

"Born on the Wind"

(written with Larry Shell, Jimmy Van Cleve)

Mountain Heart2004 
 

"Cold Shoulder"

(written with Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1991 
 

"Every Cowboy's Dream"

(written with Randy Boudreaux, Rhett Akins)

Rhett Akins1997 #51 country
 

"Fall in Love"

(written with Buddy Brock, Kenny Chesney)

Kenny Chesney1995 #6 country
 

"Goodnight Sweetheart"

(written with Randy Boudreaux, L. David Lewis)

Joe Diffie1992 
David Kersh1996 #6 country
 

"Haunted Heart"

(written with Buddy Brock)

Sammy Kershaw1993 #9 country
 

"Honky Tonk Christmas"

(written with Buddy Brock, Zack Turner)

Alan Jackson1994 #53 country
Mickey Gilley1995 
 

"Honky Tonk Truth"

(written with Lonnie Wilson, Ronnie Dunn)

Brooks & Dunn1997 #3 country

"If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)"

(written with Ken Spooner)

Joe Diffie1991 #1 country
 

"It's Midnight Cinderella"

(written with Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1996 #5 country
 

"Light at the End of the Tunnel"

(written with Rich Fagan, Johnny Mack Williams)

B. B. Watson1991 #23 country
 

"My Blue Angel"

(written with Aaron Tippin, Phil Douglas)

Aaron Tippin1993 #7 country
 

"Overnight Male"

(written with Rich Fagan, Ron Harbin)

B. B. Watson1991 
George Strait1992 #70 country

"Papa Loved Mama"

(written with Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1992 #3 country
David Allan Coe2002 
 

"Pickin' Wildflowers"

(written with Keith Anderson, John Rich)

Keith Anderson2005 #8 country
 

"She Loved a Lot in Her Time"

(written with Randy Boudreaux, Sam Hogin)

George Jones1992 #55 country
 

"She's Gonna Make It"

(written with Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1998 #2 country
 

"Stranger in My Mirror"

(written with Skip Ewing)

Randy Travis1999 #16 country
 

"Tearin' It Up (And Burnin' It Down)"

(written with Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1998 #63 country

"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"

(written with Mark D. Sanders, Ed Hill)

Reba McEntire1995 #1 country
 

"The Night I Called the Old Man Out"

(written with Pat Alger, Garth Brooks)

Garth Brooks1993 

"Three Wooden Crosses"

(written with Doug Johnson)

NSAI, CMA, ACM, GMA Song of the Year

Randy Travis2003 #1 country
 

"Warning Labels"

(written with Oscar Turman)

Doug Stone1992 #4 country
 

"Whatever It Takes"

(written with Buddy Brock, Kenny Chesney)

Kenny Chesney & Peyton Manning1998 
 

"While You Loved Me"

(written with Danny Wells, Marty Dodson)

Rascal Flatts2001 #7 country
 

"Who Needs You Baby"

(written with Randy Boudreaux, Clay Walker)

Clay Walker1995 #2 country

Kim Williams

Induction Year: 2012