Remembering Joe Diffie; Grammy-winning artist dies from COVID-19

Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 23:32:26-04

NOLENSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's a loss being felt all around the world. Grammy-winning country music artist Joe Diffie died Sunday due to complications of COVID-19.

Dave Pomeroy knew Diffie for decades. They worked together in the mid 80s on demo sessions. Dave also played on joe’s first three albums. He says this loss will take a lifetime to get over. He adds the 61-year-old had a way with lyrics that made you believe him.

"When he sang a song, it had been sung. He lived up to that," Dave Pomeroy said, the president of the Nashville Musicians Union.

Diffie's passing was sudden. He told fans he had tested positive COVID-19 on Friday. Two days later he was gone. Pomeroy says this is a reality check for anyone who hasn’t been listening to the warnings.

"Given his reach, I think a lot of people who haven't taken it seriously this is something not to fool around with," said Pomeroy.

73-year-old Country music singer John Prine is also fighting for his life after testing positive for the virus. Prine is currently hospitalized.

Pomeroy, who performed with Prine recently, says these incidents prove no one is immune.

"We are all praying for his survival to get through this," Pomeroy said, "he's been resilient through numerous health issues...if anyone can get through this we hope it's John."

Diffie was a successful singer/songwriter in the 1990s. His hits included "Pickup Man," "Third Rock From the Sun," "If the Devil Danced," and "Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox If I Die."

Diffie also wrote hits for artists like Tim McGraw, Conway Twitty, and Jo Dee Messina. He has more than 20 top ten hits.

A memorial parade was held Monday night. Diffie’s neighbors arrived in their John Deere green slightly before 7 p.m.

“He is our neighbor and this is a community where we love and respect each other and value people,” one neighbor said. “We wanted to pay our respects to his family.”

During the parade, a local radio station played Joe Diffie’s greatest hits for a soundtrack. Dozens of trucks lined up for the parade route.

“Nolensville doesn’t do anything small, let me tell you!” said Lisa Garramone, who helped organize the event. “When we show up, we show up!”

As for what Diffie would think if he could see the turnout in his memory, Garramone said: “He’s looking down from heaven right now, and saying ‘Well, they propped me up beside the jukebox for sure, with this one!’”