“Don’t Take The Girl” Songwriter, Larry Johnson, Dies At 69

gofundme.com, Tim McGraw / Facebook

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Larry W. Johnson, a man who was partially responsible for the success of country artist, Tim McGraw. Johnson passed away at the age of 69, on June 12, 2020, in the arms of his loving wife, Becky. He was both a friend of Tim McGraw as well as an incredibly talented songwriter.

Johnson won many awards for his words and music – most notably his first big hit that was recorded by Tim McGraw in 1994, “Don’t Take The Girl”.

The Kentucky native had several health issues in recent years, including cancer, COPD and an aortic aneurysm. According to his obituary, he had two aortic aneurysm operations this year alone. It also mentions that he chose sobriety 11 years ago, after being on the brink of death. A Go Fund Me has been created to help his family cover funeral expenses.


“Don’t Take the Girl” became a No. 1 hit for McGraw in May 1994 and has remained a favorite of the singer and his fans. The song was pivotal in McGraw’s career and became the catalyst to his success today. The ballad’s opening lyrics, “Johnny’s daddy was taking him fishing / When he was eight years old” and Johnny’s life story develops throughout the song.

Johnson had more than 50 other titles registered with BMI and his co-written “If You Think You’re Lonely” was recorded by Ray Price in 2002.

Watch the video below to hear Johnson and McGraw’s, “Don’t Take the Girl.”