Joe Wyatt
Published July 6, 2017

When JD Souther arrived in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, a bumper sticker on his car proclaimed “I got my start at Amarillo College.” And what a successful start it was for the new kid in town.

southerhpSouther, who became one of the most celebrated songwriters of his generation, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Amarillo College Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Grammy-nominated Souther, who wrote or co-wrote some of the Eagles’ biggest hits, including “Heartache Tonight,” and “New Kid in Town,” will be honored during an event being planned for this fall at Amarillo College.

Souther was born in Detroit but spent his formative years in Amarillo. A graduate of Tascosa High School, he attended AC in 1965 and 1966.

“We are enormously excited to honor JD Souther and bring him back to his Amarillo College roots,” Mark White, executive vice president, said. “His many accomplishments and accolades speak for themselves. They clearly identify him as an alumnus of distinction.

“However, we were equally inspired in the selection process by his long-held and continued affection for both AC and the Texas Panhandle. It’s a combination of accomplishments and allegiance that we believe makes JD a truly splendid choice for our Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Much more than a writer of influential songs that shaped the Southern California rock sound of the early 1970s – he was inducted in 2013 into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame – Souther is also an accomplished musical performer and an actor.

He has not only written 10 classics for Linda Ronstadt and collaborated on songs with headliners like James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Buffett, Roy Orbison, and a great many more, but he has released successful solo albums and appeared as an actor in such television shows as Thirtysomething and Nashville.

Souther joins a noteworthy group of past recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award, a roster that includes, among others, such luminaries as Ben Sargent, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist; U.S. Secretary of the Treasury G. William Miller; and Mary Lou Robinson, a federal judge who in 1973 became the first female appellate judge in Texas.