Remembering Jerry Lynn Williams

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 1, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Jerry Lynn Williams and I were friends and teenage musicians who played together a lot in 1964 and 1965 [“The Lone Ranger,” Music, Jan. 27]. We were both lead guitarists, but unlike me, Jerry was an exceptional singer, and he became one of the music industry's most prolific and successful songwriters. His death on Nov. 5, 2005, and Bill Bentley's article brought to mind some interesting moments Jerry and I shared as young musicians in Fort Worth, Texas.
    Jerry was an interesting character with a contrasting blend of qualities. He was blunt and forceful, yet warmhearted and sensitive; close and personal, yet distant; highly talented and demanding, yet smooth as glass; wild and crazy, yet graceful and in control. He was a free-spirited, independent, and extremely confident artist with a captivating personality, but he was also a loner with an insatiable desire to connect with people.
    In June of 1966 Jerry wanted me to go with him to California, but due to Vietnam and my perfect health, I had to return to college to get a deferment. Jerry insisted I should shoot off a toe and become IV-F (physically disabled) or see a psychiatrist and be declared too crazy to kill people. Maybe I should have. Decades later I wondered if one less toe would have really mattered that much. Or a psychiatric record. Had I gone to California with Jerry I might have become a successful nine-toed sideman, loony or not. We saw each other a few times during the Seventies when he was battling with Warner Bros., and a few times when I lived in Europe in the Nineties. Jerry was a fascinating, creative, complicated, and lovable human being. The world has lost a great musician, songwriter and singer, and a very unique man. But his music will live on forever.
Gary L. Wimmer
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