The country music world is in mourning today after it was revealed that legendary songwriter Mentor Williams, best known for the classic hit “Drift Away,” passed away early Wednesday morning. He was 70 years-old.
Taste of Country reported that Williams scored his biggest hit with the 1973 song “Drift Away,” which he wrote and produced. Dobie Gray took the song to number 5 that year, and it ended up being certified gold. Uncle Kracker re-cut the song with Gray in 2003, and that year it became a number 1 hit.
Williams began his career as a staff songwriter at Almo-Irving in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, and he went on to work as a producer for A&M, MCA, RSO and Columbia Records. He later wrote songs in the country world for Alabama (“When We Make Love”), Randy Travis and George Jones (“A Few Ole Country Boys”) and Eddy Raven (“She’s Gonna Win Your Heart”).
Williams received an ASCAP to commemorate his 30 years of songwriting. He was in a relationship with country music singer Lynn Anderson for 30 years until her death in 2015.
Rest in peace, Mentor Williams!