Marijohn Wilkin (July 14, 1920-October 28, 2006), nee Melson, was an American songwriter, famous in the Country Music genre for writing a number of hits. Wilkin won numerous awards over the years and was referred to as "The Den Mother of Music Row," as chronicled in her 1978 biography from Word Books--Lord, Let Me Leave a Song (written with Darryl E. Hicks, named "One of The 100 Most Important Books About Nashville").
She was born in Kemp, Texas on July 14, 1920, and raised in Sanger, north of Dallas. She became a teacher, and was widowed when her husband Bedford Russell was killed in World War II. She remarried in 1946, with one son; her 1950 marriage to Art Wilkin, Jr. was her third.
Her father, a baker, had been a fiddle player. From 1955 she toured with Red Foley, and in 1956 her songs were recorded by Mitchell Torok and Wanda Jackson. In 1958 she moved to Nashville, and had major hits, written with John D. Loudermilk, for Stonewall Jackson and Jimmy C. Newman.
Further hits came, The Long Black Veil for Lefty Frizzell (with Danny Dill), the classic Cut Across Shorty for Eddie Cochran. "One Day at a Time" won a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association in 1975 (see also: Dove Award for Song of the Year). It became a No. 1 country hit for Cristy Lane in 1980 and has since been recorded more than 200 times.
Johnny Duncan and Ed Bruce were among the many songwriters she helped get a foothold in the music business. Kris Kristofferson was in the Army with one of her distant cousins. So he sent some of his work to her at Buckhorn, Marijohn's publishing company. She became the first to publish his songs, notably "For the Good Times." In 1970 it became a massive pop and country hit for Ray Price. Hundreds have since recorded it. Marijohn Wilkin is credited for the discovery of Kris Kristofferson and being the first person to give him work as a legitimate songwriter.
Wilkin formed a new publishing company, 17th Avenue Music. It became profitable when its songs were recorded by LeAnn Rimes. In 2005, Wilkin was honored by the SOURCE organization
as a pioneering Music Row businesswoman. This was her last notable public appearance. She died of heart disease October 28th 2006. Her last marriage was to music producer Clarence Selman in 1967.