31 May 1938
19 February 2003 (aged 64)
Johnny Paycheck (May 31, 1938 – February 18, 2003) was a country music singer. He is most famous for covering the David Allan Coe song "Take This Job And Shove It".
Born Donald Eugene Lytle in Greenfield, Ohio, he began playing guitar by age 6 and made his first record at age 15. After a time served in the United States Navy (which included a court-martial for assault), he began performing under the name Donny Young. The singer took a job with country music star George Jones, for whom he played bass and steel guitar for several years, co-writing Jones' hit song, "Once You've Had the Best." By the 1960s, he had changed his name to Johnny Paycheck, a name similar to Johnny Cash, which has sometimes caused confusion.
A member of the Grand Ole Opry, PayCheck is best remembered for his 1977 cover of, "Take This Job and Shove It" (written by David Allan Coe) which sold over 2 million copies and inspired a motion picture of the same name. Colorado Kool-Aid is another of his most famous songs. In his career, PayCheck recorded eleven songs that made it into country music's top ten chart plus he co-wrote several successful songs for other country singers including "Apartment #9," a hit for Tammy Wynette.
His life was often filled with turmoil and in 1985, PayCheck was convicted of shooting a man in Hillsboro, Ohio and spent two years in prison. His tax problems with the IRS led to his filing for bankruptcy in 1990. Later in the 1990s, he began capitalizing the fourth letter of his name in a style later dubbed CamelCase, preferring to be known as Johnny PayCheck.
PayCheck suffered from drug and alcohol addiction during his career, although he was said to have "put his life in order" after his prison stay. Suffering from emphysema and asthma, after a lengthy illness, Johnny PayCheck died at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
He was interred in Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville.
He is survived by his wife Sharon PayCheck and son Jonathan PayCheck.
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