He died of unknown causes in Gaston, North Carolina on Friday.
Born in Charlotte, Johns began playing the guitar when he was only nine and he later formed his own band, the Devilles.
He landed a recording contract in 1973 and scored a hit with "Chevy Van," which went on to sell in excess of three million copies.
The tune has since been called "The Song of the Seventies" by Rolling Stone magazine.
He also wrote popular track "America" for Waylon Jennings, "Desperado Love" for Conway Twitty and "Common Man" for John Conlee.
Johns released his last album, Honky Tonk Moon, in 2000.
He is to be remembered during a funeral service in Belmont on Wednesday.