Joe South was a seemingly plain man, with a plain name and a plainclothes style, the antithesis of the rock star. But his unassuming presence was belied by a remarkable body of work in the 1960s and early ’70s. In a span of a few short years, the Georgia native, born Joseph Souter in 1940, wrote eight major hits, recorded a handful of critically acclaimed albums and, as a session guitarist in the Muscle Shoals scene, played on such records as Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album. He abruptly terminated his career in 1971, however, upon his brother’s suicide, and his invisibility in the ensuing years left him largely forgotten. Today, upon his death at age 72, TIME.com recalls South with a few clips that show his songwriting and performing skills.