Songwriter Dennis Linde remained a fixture of the country charts for decades, penning blockbusters for everyone from Elvis Presley to the Dixie Chicks. Born March 18, 1943, in Abilene, TX, Linde spent much of his adolescence in St. Louis, first picking up the guitar at the age of 15. During the late '60s, he played in the St. Louis band the Starlighters, driving a dry-cleaning delivery truck by day. When speeding tickets cost him his license and his day job, Linde turned to songwriting, relocating to Nashville in 1969 to join the Combine Music staff (which also included Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, and Wanda Jackson). Linde scored his first major hit a year later when Roy Drusky cut his "Long Long Texas Road." He also signed a solo deal with Mercury's Intrepid imprint, issuing his debut effort, Linde Manor.
In 1972, Elvis scored his final number one hit with "Burning Love," launching Linde to the forefront of Nashville songwriters. The attention earned him a deal with Elektra, which released his self-titled sophomore record in 1973. Trapped in the Suburbs appeared on the label's Asylum subsidiary the following year, and in 1978 Linde signed to Monument to release his fourth and final solo disc, Under the Eye. He continued his commercial success during the mid-'80s, writing hits for Kenny Rogers ("Goodbye, Marie"), Gary Morris ("The Love She Found in Me"), Don Williams ("Walkin' a Broken Heart"), and Eddy Raven ("I'm Gonna Get You").
However, Linde's finest work emerged during the following decade, when he unleashed his mordant wit on songs for Mark Chesnutt ("Bubba Shot the Jukebox"), Joe Diffie ("John Deere Green"), and Shenandoah ("Janie Baker's Love Slave") -- in 1993, he was named the Nashville Songwriter Association's Songwriter of the Year, and in 1994 earned BMI's Songwriter the Year honors. Linde made national headlines in 2000 when the Dixie Chicks scored with his bleakly witty "Goodbye Earl," the controversial tale of an abusive husband killed by his long-suffering wife. He returned to the upper reaches of the country charts in 2005 with Alan Jackson's "The Talkin' Song Repair Blues." ~ Jason Ankeny