Cover photo for James Elmore Cason's Obituary
James Elmore Cason Profile Photo
1939 "Buzz" 2024

James Elmore Cason

November 27, 1939 — June 16, 2024

Franklin,Tn.

James “Buzz” Elmore Cason, 84, of Franklin, TN, passed away peacefully at his home on June 16, 2024. Buzz was born on November 27, 1939, in Nashville, TN, to James Roy Cason and Rosa Jordan Cason. At the age of nine, Buzz professed his faith in Jesus at Inglewood Baptist Church and was baptized. His life verse is John 6:47, "Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life”. Buzz was a member of Brentwood Baptist Church for years and later joined Forest Hills Baptist Church and taught Sunday School at both places. He was truly grateful for all his brothers in Christ and Dr. Jerry Winfield at the Wednesday morning Bible studies. Buzz and longtime friend Dickey Lee co-founded Giving in Faith Together (GIFT) around 1996, a nonprofit foundation helping musicians, musical families, and others in need. An early talent for writing began in first grade when Buzz won a poetry contest with his poem about a bunny. Due to his tremendous interest reading the magazines his father brought home from the office, at the age of 12 Buzz started paying for newspaper delivery due to his family’s strict budget and disciplined himself as an avid reader over the years for knowledge and ideas that influenced his writings. Buzz’s entrepreneurial spirit took off with his first job at age ten when he operated a popsicle pushcart with his assistant and childhood friend, Aaron Brown. Buzz bought the popsicles for five cents each and sold them for six cents each in his Inglewood neighborhood in East Nashville. This experience was the inspiration for the “Popsicle” song co-written by his business partner Bobby Russell in 1962. As a successful American rock singer, songwriter, recording studio pioneer, and author, Buzz’s music career spanned over seven decades, including time in England, France, Germany and Australia, and he had friends worldwide. In 1956 while Buzz was an art student at Isaac Litton High School in East Nashville, a friend invited him to the TV station, WSIX, where the local DJ, Noel Ball, hosted a show “Saturday Showcase”. Buzz hung out at the station painting sets and pantomiming the R & B songs with buddies as The Manhattans. Noel let Buzz sing “Blue Suede Shoes” with the Richard Williams Trio. This led Buzz at age 16 to become a founding member of The Casuals, Nashville’s first rock & roll band in 1956 which became a successful touring act and Brenda Lee’s backing band. In 1957 he wrote his very first song “My Love Song for You” recorded by The Casuals, and a year later he co-wrote “Tennessee” with Bobby Russell recorded by Jan and Dean. Later, Buzz and keyboardist Richard Williams teamed up with Hugh Jarrett of The Jordanaires to record as The Statues. In 1960 Buzz started a solo career with the hit “Look for A Star” under the name Garry Miles. While working as Snuff Garrett’s assistant in Los Angeles in 1962, Buzz and Leon Russell produced The Crickets in a version of the song “La Bamba”. When The Crickets lead singer Jerry Naylor became ill, Buzz filled in as lead singer and played rhythm with the group on a summer concert tour of the UK in 1964. In 1970 Buzz became the founder and owner of the legendary Creative Workshop recording studio in Berry Hill. After recording engineer Travis Turk introduced him to Jimmy Buffett, Buzz became Jimmy's first publisher and co-wrote some songs with him. Other engineers at the studio through the years include Brent Maher, Joe Funderburk and Parker Cason. Additional artists who recorded at Creative Workshop include Brenda Lee, Leon Russell, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed, Merle Haggard, The Gatlin Brothers, The Judds, The Doobie Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Olivia Newton-John, The Derailers, Sugarcane Jane, Brooks Forsyth and the list goes on. Buzz sang backup vocals for Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, John Denver and other notable artists. Buzz released albums and performed with his own bands, The Love Notes and B C & The Dartz. In 2015 he released the album “Record Machine” featuring his son Parker who co-wrote the song “Record Machine” and played on several tracks. Buzz and fellow songwriter Billy Swan produced the album “Billy & Buzz Sing Buddy” in 2018, a tribute to Buddy Holly. Buzz collaborated with sons Taylor and Parker on the album “Buzz Cason & Sons 2020” featuring Taylor on vocals for a new version of “Soldier of Love”. Buzz recorded the album “Sing!” featuring his children and existing grandchildren at the time. In 2020 Buzz produced and Mark Harper directed the documentary “BERRY HILL! From Creative Workshop and Beyond” about Creative Workshop and the recording scene in the Berry Hill neighborhood of Nashville, TN that evolved from it. Alamo Jones of Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country station and others have called Buzz Cason the Father of Nashville Rock. He was the voice of “Alvin” on three Chipmunks records. In 2004 he released his auto-biography “Living the Rock & Roll Dream: The Adventures of Buzz Cason”. Regarding the book, Kris Kristofferson wrote “He is living proof that nice guys do just fine, and they have the most fun.” In 2014 Buzz was honored by the Country Music Hall of fame by Michael Gray as part of their Poets & Prophets series and in 2019 Campbellsville University awarded Buzz an honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts degree. He was also a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. A selection of some of the multitude of songs written by Buzz include these co-writers and recording artists: “Everlasting Love”, the timeless hit love song with Mac Gayden, first recorded by Robert Knight in 1967, also recorded by Love Affair, Carl Carlton, U2, Gloria Estefan, Jamie Cullum and others; “Soldier of Love” with Tony Moon, recorded by Arthur Alexander, The Beatles, Marshall Crenshaw, Pearl Jam, The Derailers, and others; “Love’s the Only House” with Tom Douglas, recorded by Martina McBride; “Love on a Mountaintop” with Mac Gayden, recorded by Robert Knight; “Timeless and True Love” with Charlie Black and Austin Roberts, recorded by The McCarters, Jeannie Kendall and Alan Jackson; “Popsicle” with Bobby Russell, recorded by Jan & Dean; “Glory Bound” with Anthony Crawford, recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys, Sugarcane Jane, Anthony Crawford; “To Love” with Steve Gibb, recorded by Placido Domingo. Besides music, Buzz spent time as a professional race car driver and enjoyed all sports. He was the owner of the historic Forge Seat in Brentwood, TN where he lived for many years. Buzz deeply loved his wife, children, and grandchildren, but most of all, his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. According to his wife Vickie, he ended performances with “We’ll have a little worship hour with the Love Trilogy” finishing with the most well-known classic song “Everlasting Love” and referencing the Bible verse Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Buzz was preceded in death by his parents; sister Sally Jo Cason; his former wives Rose Marie Whitson Cason (mother of his children Tammy and Kristy) and Peggy Ann Parker Ball Cason (mother of his children Leah, Taylor and Parker); parents-in-law Wade and Lola Whitson, John T Parker and Dorothy Ham Parker, Jake Vaughn; brothers-in-law Ben Parker, Steven Vaughn. Buzz is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Victoria “Vickie” Vaughn Cason, Claymore the cat; daughters Tammy Cason, Kristy Cason, Leah Ball Steen (Peter Strang); sons Taylor Cason and wife T’Anna, Parker Cason and wife Chelsey; grandchildren Ashton, Rachel, Piper, Romy, Luanna, Archer, Jupiter, Cora, Phoenix, baby Jubilee due in August; godchildren Hamilton, Loretta, Levon, Dusty; mother-in-law Peggy Vaughn; sisters-in-law Meg Swain, Valerie Vaughn; brother-in-law Doug Swain; extended family Mardi Parker, Elizabeth, Laura, Hunter, Maggie, Sarah, Bradley, Dane, Jordan, Ella James, Reed, Evianna, Titus, Isla; numerous beloved cousins; special thanks to Executive Assistant Lisa Drum at Creative Workshop, Gerry Plock photographer, Forest Hills Baptist Church family including Grace Place SS class, GIFT Board, Aaron & Connie, Dickey, Lisa & Jeff, Peebles family, Drew, Liza, dear friends, amazing neighbors, all healthcare teams, Alive Hospice, Touching Hearts at Home. Visitation will be held at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home in Franklin, TN Thursday June 20, 1-3 p.m., private burial afterward. A Memorial Service will be held at Forest Hills Baptist Church, Friday June 21, 1-2 p.m., Senior Pastor Jay Hardwick, Dr. Jerry Winfield, Rev. Wayne Causey officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Forest Hills Baptist Church, Missions Fund, 2101 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37215, Giving in Faith Together (GIFT), 2804 Azalea Place, Nashville, TN 37204, Alive Hospice, 1897 General George Patton Dr, Suite 116, Franklin, TN 37067 or The Call On The Fighter Foundation www.callonthefighter.com.

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Service Schedule

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Visitation

Thursday, June 20, 2024

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service

3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

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Memorial Service

Friday, June 21, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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