Chick Rains, a Muskogee native, wrote hits for Reba McEntire and Michael Martin Murphey, but is remembered most by many for his humility.
The veteran songwriter and Muskogee Central High School graduate died Friday at the age of 83.
Among the most notable songs written by the 2008 Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductee is “Paradise Knife and Gun Club”, which was sung by Roy Clark. He also wrote Mickey Gilley’s “Headache Tomorrow (Or a Heartache Tonight)” and Johnny Lee’s bestseller, “One in a Million.”
“Chick was one of the kindest, most talented humans you’ve ever met,” said Amy Love, former executive director of OMHOF. “He was very humble and he’s been a regular visitor here since he retired and came back to Muskogee.”
Love said Rains visits the museum about once a month and “regales us with stories of songwriting and performances”.
Local banker and musician Max Boydstun recalled some of the stories Rains told.
“It was pretty amazing because of all the names he had worked with in the industry,” Boydstun said. “I’m talking about people from Linda Ronstadt in the 70s, to people in Nashville today.
“I think one of his later hits that he wrote was for a young singer named Wade Hayes, who had a big hit, ‘Old Enough to Know Better, but Still Young Enough to Care,'” Boydstun said. . “He had hits with Reba McEntire, and the list goes on and on.”
Rains co-wrote McEntire’s hit “Somebody Should Leave.”
Boydstun said Rains often talks about traveling with cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphey.
In a Facebook tribute, Murphey described Rains as the genius behind “Cowboy Logic.” Murphey said he and Rains collaborated on “Disenchanted”, “Radio Land”, and “Land of Enchantment”.
“If anyone has truly understood the concept of ‘Three Chords and Truth,’ it’s Chick Rains,” Murphey wrote. “He studied the masters of music and became one himself.”
Opera singer Barbara McAlester, a classmate from Central High, also recalled Rains’ humility.
“I’ve never known him to be anything but humble about the music he composed,” she said. “When I was living in Hollywood, he was living there, I threw a party and he came to that party. He was just lovely and very calm.”
Love said Rains donated many of his items to the museum and continued to support fellow musicians.
“He came to all of our shows,” Love said. “And all of our traveling musicians…who came from out of Muskogee and out of state were always thrilled to be able to meet Chick Rains.”