More than four decades of history went up in smoke on Saturday, when country music legend Cowboy Jack Clement lost his Nashville home in a blaze that also claimed his well-trafficked studio.

The 80-year-old Clement and his girlfriend escaped unharmed, along with their three cats and Clement’s guitar collection — including his prize possession, a 1951 Gibson J200 that was once scratched by Elvis Presley’s belt buckle. “I got my baby,” said Clement. “That guitar means more to me than the house.”

A Sun Records mainstay during the label’s ’50s heyday, Clement sat in on, and produced, many early sessions by artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, and Charley Pride. His home studio, coined the Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa, was a popular destination for a long list of artists that included John Prine, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings. It housed a number of rare recordings — many of them unreleased and now presumably lost — by Cash, Prine, Louis Armstrong, and others.

Clement has also amassed an impressive list of credits as a producer and songwriter; he wrote a number of hits for other artists, including Johnny Cash’s ‘Ballad of a Teenage Queen’ and Charley Pride’s ‘Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger.’

[Taste of Country]