Songwriter Sandy Mason Dead at 71
Hit Nashville songwriter Sandy Mason has passed away at the age of 71.
Nashville's Tennessean newspaper reports Mason died on Wednesday (April 1) in Florida. Her cause of death was complications from pancreatic cancer.
Born in Pennsylvania, Mason (pictured second from left in the photo above at a Poets and Prophets Series appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame in January) seemed set on being an entertainer from a young age, learning how to play guitar and piano, and even studying ventriloquism. She was also a singer, and in 1967 she released a single on Hickory Records, "There You Go," that peaked at No. 64. According to Music Row, she was part of an informal group of musicians and artists that included producer Allen Reynolds, Cowboy Jack Clement and Jim Rooney.
She went on to release a number of singles and albums across various genres, both as Sandy Mason and Sandy Mason Theoret, but she scored her biggest success as a songwriter. Crystal Gayle took her song "When I Dream" to No. 3 in the country genre in 1979, and also crossed over into adult contemporary with the song, which was later recorded by Clement, Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith, Roger Whittaker and Helen Reddy. In 1997 Garth Brooks scored a No. 1 hit with "Two Pina Coladas," which Mason co-wrote with Shawn Camp and Benita Hill.
Mason's other songwriting credits include “All I Wanna Do in Life," which was recorded by Gayle, George Jones and Marianne Faithfull, “Only Love,” recorded by John Prine and Don Williams, Johnny Cash's “After All” and more. She also contributed backing vocals to recordings by Brooks, Gayle, Cash, Prine and others.
Mason's "Two Pina Coladas" co-writer Shawn Camp remembers her fondly.
“She was a positive force and a sweetheart of a lady,” Camp tells the Tennessean. “I never saw her without a smile.”
Music Row reports Mason left Nashville after her cancer diagnosis several weeks ago, declining aggressive chemotherapy to spend the remainder of her life in Florida. No funeral arrangements have been announced.
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