According to an autopsy report from the Williamson County Medical Examiner that was obtained by Fox News Digital, Halls died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Aug. 20, 2021, at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. The report notes that a 911 call was received at around 11:15 a.m. that day and EMS quickly responded to the scene to find the singer dead.
“Paramedics confirmed death at approximately 1133 hours, due to obvious injuries,” the report states.
Hall’s son, Dean, confirmed the news of the musician’s death at the time on social media without giving a cause of death.
Along with such contemporaries as Kris Kristofferson, John Hartford and Mickey Newbury, Hall helped usher in a literary era of country music in the early ’70s, with songs that were political, like “Watergate Blues” and “The Monkey That Became President,” deeply personal like “The Year Clayton Delaney Died,” and philosophical like “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine.”
“In all my writing, I’ve never made judgments,” he said in 1986. “I think that’s my secret. I’m a witness. I just watch everything and don’t decide if it’s good or bad.”
Hall, the fourth son of an ordained minister, was born near Olive Hill, Kentucky, in a log cabin built by his grandfather. He started playing guitar at age 4 and wrote his first song by the time he was 9.
Hall began playing in a bluegrass band, but when that didn’t work out he started working as a disc jockey in Morehead, Kentucky. He joined the U.S. Army in 1957 for four years including an assignment in Germany. He turned to writing when he got back stateside and was discovered by Nashville publisher Jimmy Key.
He would later go on to settle in Nashville and become a staple in the country music scene. His breakthrough was writing “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” a 1968 international hit about small-town hypocrisy recorded by Jeannie C. Riley.
His own career took off after that song and he had a string of hits with “Ballad of Forty Dollars” (which also was recorded by Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings); his first career No. 1 hit “A Week in a Country Jail,” and “Homecoming,” in the late 1960s.
Throughout the ’70s, Hall became one of Nashville’s biggest singer-songwriters, with multiple hit songs including, “I Love,” “Country Is,” “I Care,” “I Like Beer,” and “Faster Horses (The Cowboy and The Poet.)” He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).