Jim Vienneau

Celebrated producer and music industry executive Jim Vienneau passed away on November 9, 2023. He was 97. 

Born in New York, Vienneau was the nephew of pioneering country producer Frank Walker, who co-founded MGM Records in 1946. Mentored by his uncle, Vienneau began working for the label in 1955, producing hits like Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe,” Connie Francis’ “Vacation,” Roy Orbison’s “Ride Away," Mark Dinning’s “Teen Angel," and more. After being transferred to MGM's Nashville office in 1965 to head its Country division, he kept busy producing blockbuster hits for Hank Williams Jr. (“Cajun Baby,” “Pride’s Not Hard to Swallow,” “I’ll Think of Something”), Mel Tillis (“I Ain’t Never,” “Sawmill,” “Memory Maker"), Jeannie C. Riley (“Give Myself a Party”), and several others. 

Following a brief stint at 20th Century Records, Vienneau joined Acuff-Rose Publishing where he worked with Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin, and Kenny Chesney. He was named Billboard's Country Producer of the Year in 1972 and continued to serve as a producer up until his retirement in 1988.