Ken Tucker
January 08, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

In Memoriam: Songwriter Dennis Linde

The headlines will tell you that Dennis Linde, who died on Dec. 22 of a lung disease at age 63, wrote ”Burnin’ Love,” unquestionably Elvis Presley’s last great hit single, and ”Goodbye Earl,” the Dixie Chicks’ hit about murdering a mean guy that created controversy long before the Chicks started disrespecting the President. But what the short wire stories won’t tell you is that this guy was a fascinating, eccentric artist whose own solo albums, released in the 1970s, are worth seeking out. One in particular, Under The Eye (1977) is a real prize, filled with a mixture of witty novelty songs and affecting ballads that Nashville hadn’t yielded since the heyday of Roger Miller. The title song, ”Under The Eye,” is a rollicking little number about the extreme paranoia of being constantly observed by aliens. ”We’re livin’ our whole life under the eye!” howled Linde in the chorus. In a way, you could say that Dennis Linde anticipated The X-Files by almost 20 years…

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