Veteran songwriter and longtime independent artist Ramsey Kearney died on Saturday (March 14), Music Row reports. He was 86 years old.

Born on Oct. 30, 1933, Kearney began a career in the music industry by working at his own radio show in Jackson, Tenn. in the late 1940s and early '50s. He took a break from music to serve in the army from 1953-1955, and later joined the Nashville songwriting industry as a staff writer for Cedarwood Publishing.

Over the course of his career, Kearney wrote songs for the likes of Sue Thompson, Eddy Arnold and Moe Bandy. Perhaps his biggest cut as a songwriter was for Brenda Lee, however: He co-wrote "Emotions," the title track of her 1961 fourth studio album, with Mel Tillis.

Meanwhile, Kearney also maintained a successful career as an independent recording artist, cracking the charts twice in the 1980s with "King of Oak Street" (a song previously cut by Kenny Rogers in 1978) and "One Time Thing."

The singer-songwriter released a slew of country albums over the course of his career, as well as an Eddy Arnold tribute project, a Christmas album and forays into rockabilly and blues.

Music Row reports that funeral services for Kearney will not be public, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus. A private ceremony honoring his life will be held on Thursday  (March 19) at Hendersonville Funeral Home in Hendersonville, Tenn. Kearney will be buried at Hendersonville Memorial Gardens.

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