Nineties country-music hitmaker Joe Diffie died Sunday, March 29th due to complications related to COVID-19. The feel-good tunes that Diffie created continue to bless fans around the world. In all, Diffie charted 18 Top 10 singles, with the majority reaching the top five, including 1993 radio essentials “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” and iconic song, “John Deere Green.” Diffie’s popular hits also include “Home,” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “Pickup Man,” “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” and “Bigger Than the Beatles.”
Fellow artists mourn the sudden loss of their friend and recall fond memories that they’ve shared and will forever cherish with legend, Joe Diffie.
“Joe Diffie always had a ready smile and something good to say. Without a doubt, he was a great, natural country singer and his many friends and fans are going to really miss him. God Bless and comfort his family at this sad time. Here we are recording the CMA Vocal Event of the Year, “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.” Rest In Peace, old friend.” – T. Graham Brown
“The loss of Joe Diffie was a shock!! I was just processing the news that he was diagnosed with Covid19 when in just a few days he was gone. Yes, his incredible country voice will be missed (I have been listening to him all morning) but man Joe was one of the good guys. He was always nice to everyone and everyone loved him. My prayers today are for his family and for John Prine.” – Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys
“Sadly we lost another great country singer this week, my friend Joe Diffie… this time to the coronavirus – hard to believe. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest In Peace!” – Lee Greenwood
“Without a doubt Joe Diffie was one of the most authentic and greatest voices country music has ever known! A beloved member of the Grand Ole Opry, he was also one of the sweetest people on earth! Joe’s sudden departure is a huge loss and has left all of us broken-hearted and stunned. My prayers are with his family.” – Deborah Allen
“The voices in Heaven just keep getting sweeter. So saddened to hear of the passing of Grand Ole Opry Star Joe Diffie. One of Country Music’s greatest voices. The last time I saw Joe was in a Nashville restaurant. I am honored to have sang harmony on his #bluegrass CD. A song titled “Route 5 Box 109”. Our deepest sympathy for Joe’s family. Rest In Peace Joe, you’ve made it “Home.” – Rhonda Vincent
“I’m so saddened to hear about Joe Diffie. I worked shows with him on many occasions and what a great guy and great talent he was. Many prayers for his family & friends.” – Janie Fricke
“I am so shocked and saddened that Joe has passed. So tragic. Joe was a great singer and a great songwriter and I loved his records. I always loved the shows we played together and running into Joe at the Opry. I will miss my friend.” – Crystal Gayle
“My heart is battered and bruised today from the loss of two of my musical heroes, but I am trying to concentrate instead on the joy that they brought to the lives of their friends and fans. I had the honor of playing with Joe Diffie many times over the course of my career. Joe’s voice was the quintessential country voice. He could tear out your heart, or he could make you forget your troubles for a while. When Joe sang a song, that song had been sung.” – Tim Atwood
“Rest In Peace! Another great one gone too soon! He was a co-writer on my new single that we have right now called “Love Me To Death”. So sad!” – Shane Owens
“So saddened by the passing of my friend Joe Diffie! His songs span my entire childhood into my high school/college years. I was just getting ready to write with him for the first time. So many prayers to his wife Tara and family!” – JD Shelburne
“As a classic/ 90’s country fan and lover of all things country music, it breaks my heart so much to hear of both Jan Howard and Joe Diffie passing away over the weekend. Country music fans all around the world are truly mourning more than just the loss of these staples, but the loss of these creative spirits still giving back to the unstoppable machine that is country music. They will truly be missed, but their love for music will live on forever through the great lyrics they spent their lives putting their heart and soul into. God bless them and their families!” – Paige King Johnson
“Tough times just got tougher with the passing of two great country legends. Both Jan Howard and Joe Diffie are icons in this genre. I’ll forever remember driving down the road with my father singing along to Joe Diffie. Such a tragedy, but thank you for the memories.” – Austin Merrill
The Music Community Mourns the Loss of Joe Diffie
“What a devastating loss… times like these leave me speechless. Joe and I played more shows together than I can count. My heart goes out to his wife Tara and his children. He will be missed. May God Bless us all.” – Doug Stone
*In addition to touring together, Joe co-wrote “Burning Down This House” for Doug: Click Here
“I’m shocked and saddened by the news of Joe Diffie’s passing. I was fortunate to get to know Joe and tour with him in the 90’s. I always enjoyed hearing him hit the big notes on those classic ballads. He was such a strong singer. I recently came across some old footage of us cutting up during a TV taping. He had a wicked sense of humor. This is a big loss for all of us. My condolences go out to his family and friends and all of his fans.” – Terry McBride
*License a photo of Joe and Terry: Click Here
“Joe Diffie was the ‘pickup man’ — always had a smile and a story, to cure and encourage. It was my fortunate blessing to come along the same time JD did, in music —so many great memories, and so many times he ‘propped me up.’ The trailer that Bud Hunter hauled all across the country on our tour for years was the one we got from Joe — it had 71 on it, because that was Joe’s golf score, so Bud left it there. I guess he was always with us and always will be! Mary and I send love and prayers to Tara and the family, in this unbearably sad moment, as country music is left with a huge void. Rest easy my friend, shoot 71 every day — til we sing together again. I love you brother.” – Randy Travis, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member
*Randy and Joe were featured on “Same Old Train” with a slew of fellow artists in 1998: Click Here
“We’re all shocked and saddened to hear the news of my friend Joe Diffie’s passing. Joe and I toured for a year together along with Travis Tritt. Everyday he would come by my bus about noon and we would go to lunch together. He was a warm-hearted, good-natured, fun-loving man with an extraordinary voice. I will miss him.” – Lee Roy Parnell
“I am in total shock hearing about our dear Joe! He is among everyone’s favorite singers. I was blessed to write a few big ones for Joe. ‘A Night To Remember’ and he one he took a big chance on ‘Tougher Than Nails.’ Nashville will never be the same without Joe Diffie.” – Max T. Barnes
“Rest in peace, Joe Diffie. Country music‘s huge loss of my friend, a great singer and songwriter. May God Bless his family and friends.” – Jerry Lee Lewis, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member.
“Joe Diffie’s music is in heavy rotation in the soundtrack of my life. He was one of the first major artists I ever opened for and I will never forget how gracious he was to me and my band. Much love, thoughts and prayers for his family during this time.” – Paul Bogart, country artist and fellow Oklahoman.
“Oklahoma lost a favorite son and the country music world lost an incredible voice yesterday. Joe Diffie and his music were the soundtrack to so many good times, it’s hard to believe he’s gone. He was a real neotraditionalist and his influence is still heard in new artists today. Thanks for the music, Joe.” – James Robert Webb, country artist and fellow Oklahoman.
A SPECIAL NOTE ON JAN HOWARD
In addition to Joe Diffie, the country music community lost my dear friend, Jan Howard, this weekend. Jan was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry, having just celebrated her 91st birthday. My full thoughts and remembrance of her can be read on my Facebook page. Her ties to our 117 family run deep, especially with one of her closest friends, Bobby Bare. Both Bare and Jan have told me stories of when he would visit Nashville, prior to moving here in the early ’60s. He would sleep in Jan’s bathtub if there wasn’t an open couch or bed in the house! In college, I interviewed Jan and we went deep into her story and the loss of her sons, it was an intense and emotional interview, I will forever cherish this memory along with all the others I have with Jan, including square dancing at the Longhollow Jamboree and brunching at the Loveless Cafe. – Zach Farnum