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J.D. Souther, Co-Writer of Eagles’ Hit Songs, Signs Rare Rock ‘N’ Roll Art

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Legendary singer-songwriter J.D. Souther performed at the historic Cactus Theater in Lubbock, Texas, on November 3, 2019. Souther, who grew up in Amarillo, co-wrote many of the Eagles’ major hits, including “Best of My Love,” “Victim of Love,” “Heartache Tonight,” “New Kid in Town,” and “How Long.” The West Texas concert was a notable event, in part because Souther took the opportunity to autograph a special piece of rock ‘n’ roll billboard art by a fellow Texan, Joe Taylor, Curator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton. After an enthralling performance at the Cactus Theater, Souther met with artist Joe Taylor and took a moment to sign the billboard, gracing it with a signature and a special message: “Thanks for the improvement on the original. Best JDS.”

Video: Max McNabb

In the 1970s, Joe Taylor was an artist living in LA, re-creating rock ‘n’ roll album covers for billboard advertisements. Now, decades later, Taylor displays his collection of rare billboard artwork at the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum. The unique collection is unlike anything else in the history of rock ‘n’ roll and pop music art, and it’s currently being offered for sale, with a portion of the profits to be donated to veterans in need. Souther isn’t the only famed musician to sign the billboard collection. Legendary musician James Taylor autographed the billboard version of the cover art for his “Walking Man” album at a Lubbock concert, and members of Three Dog Night contributed their signatures to a piece of the collection after another Lubbock performance.

J.D. Souther, Co-Writer of Eagles’ Hit Songs, Signs Rare Rock 'N' Roll Art

Video: Max McNabb

John David Souther was born on November 2, 1945. Raised in Texas, at an early age he was predisposed to the talents of fellow Lone Star State artist Roy Orbison, influencing his own musical talents and passion for songwriting. His beginning recordings in the mid-‘60s came with a group out of Texas called “The Cinders.” Following that, he moved to California, where he met Glenn Frey, songwriter and future member of the Eagles. The two became roommates and began collaborating on songs, eventually forming a folk duo called Longbranch Pennywhistle, releasing a single album under that moniker in 1970.

Souther went on to record solo and write for himself and other artists throughout the ’70s, getting creative credit with such notables as the Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, and Linda Ronstadt, whom he dated, co-produced an album for, and continued to collaborate with afterward. He also partnered with Don Henley, Dan Fogelberg, and James Taylor on noteworthy hits.

J.D. Souther, Co-Writer of Eagles’ Hit Songs, Signs Rare Rock 'N' Roll Art

Photo: Max McNabb

Souther has worked with such icons as the Platters and Bob Seger and has several film score credits to his name for such movies as Steven Spielberg’s “Always,” the film “Permanent Record,” and “Cry-Baby.” In 2013, he was honored by being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, during a ceremony at which he was named “a principal architect of the Southern California sound and a major influence on a generation of songwriters.”

J.D. Souther, Co-Writer of Eagles’ Hit Songs, Signs Rare Rock 'N' Roll Art

Photo: Max McNabb

Lubbock’s Cactus Theater, situated in the Depot District, is a historic treasure that comes with acoustics that are second-to-none, creating concert experiences unlike any other and intimate performances that guests won’t find elsewhere. It has set the stage for small and large-scale concerts, live plays, as well as classic films. The venue originally opened in 1938 as the city’s first suburban movie theater. Unfortunately, after 20 years of business, it closed its doors due to extensive local competition. Stripped of its trimmings and trappings, it became a scrap iron storage facility until the mid-1990s, when new owners undertook a huge renovation, transforming the Cactus into the stunning location it is today. Since then, it has showcased only the best of talent and has become a sanctuary of art and culture. Its Caprock Canyon murals (painted by John Russell Thomasson), and its architecture in the Art Deco style of its glory days have witnessed the works and live productions of Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, the Flatlanders, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, among others.

J.D. Souther, Co-Writer of Eagles’ Hit Songs, Signs Rare Rock 'N' Roll Art

Photo: Max McNabb

In 2016, the Cactus Theater was sold to its current owner, Darryl Holland, who has worked tirelessly to ensure the venue continues to honor the legacy of being the oasis of performing arts it’s known for. He’s carried on with a commitment to local talent while making improvements and enhancing the theater’s technological components, allowing for independent films and even the streaming of Texas Tech football games. State-of-the-art sound and new lighting make for a viewing experience which is unsurpassed. The theater continues to attract crowds to its Buddy Holly Avenue location in Lubbock owing to the caliber of performances it regularly books. J.D. Souther is just one example of the rich history of artists who have graced its stage, making The Cactus a permanent fixture in the culture of West Texas.

Visit the Cactus Theater website for tickets to more amazing, upcoming shows! Follow the Cactus on Facebook.

Follow Joe Taylor on Facebook or visit his website for more updates on the billboard art collection and other exciting projects, including a new radio show.