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Hank Cochran, at 74; wrote ‘Make the World Go Away’

Billy Don Burns, left, and Hank Cochran once teamed up on the album “Desperate Men: The Legend and the Outlaw.’’ Mr. Cochran wrote a few number one hits. Billy Don Burns, left, and Hank Cochran once teamed up on the album “Desperate Men: The Legend and the Outlaw.’’ Mr. Cochran wrote a few number one hits. (Christopher Berkey/Associated Press/File 1997)
By Joe Edwards
Associated Press / July 16, 2010

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NASHVILLE — Hank Cochran, a consummate songwriter who composed a string of country hits including “Make the World Go Away’’ for Eddy Arnold, died yesterday. He was 74.

Martha E. Moore, his publicist, said Mr. Cochran died at his home in Hendersonville north of Nashville. He had been in declining health in recent years and suffered an aortic aneurysm in March. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago.

He co-wrote the following number one hits: Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces’’; George Strait’s “Ocean Front Property’’; and “Set ‘em Up Joe’’ by Vern Gosdin.

He also wrote the number one hits: “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me’’ by Ronnie Milsap; “He’s Got You’’ by Cline and Loretta Lynn; “I Want to Go With You’’ by Arnold; and “That’s All That Matters to Me’’ by Mickey Gilley.

This pleading sentiment was expressed in 1965 in “Make the World Go Away’’:

Make the world go away. And get it off my shoulders. Say the things you used to say And make the world go away.

Arnold died in 2008.

Moore said Mr. Cochran’s close friends Billy Ray Cyrus, Jamey Johnson, and Buddy Cannon visited him Wednesday night, and they sang songs together.

Mr. Cochran said recently: “I’m sure thankful to be where I am, and that the good Lord has run enough songs through me that I’m seriously satisfied with. As long as he keeps giving them to me, I’m going to try to do something with them.’’

He leaves his wife, three sons, and a daughter.

A private memorial service will be held later. His former wife is Grand Ole Opry singer Jeannie Seely.

Mr. Cochran was born in Isola, Miss., and worked the New Mexico oilfields as a young man.

He arrived in Nashville in 1960, and got a job as a staff songwriter with Pamper Music for $50 a week, hired by country singer Ray Price.

Shortly after that, Mr. Cochran helped Willie Nelson get a songwriting job with Pamper. Nelson went on to write classics such as “Crazy,’’ sung by Cline, and to succeed in his own singing career.

“I recorded a lot of his songs,’’ Price said about Mr. Cochran. “He was a great songwriter and a great friend, so it’s a double loss for me.’’

Mr. Cochran was a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.