This Week in Chart History – 8/12
Click on the records above and take a stroll down memory lane with this weeks installment of ‘This Week in Chart History’ for the week of August 12th.
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Well, Hello again friends and welcome to another edition of This Week in Country Music Chart History, I’m Darrell Lee.
If it made to the top the charts I’ll let you know about it and also give you some insight on the song and its artist. This time around we feature 50 years of country classics 1940 to 1990.
Chart History – The 1940′s
Now starting with 1948 and who else but Eddy Arnold with Just A Little Love Will Go A Long Long Way which was in the middle of an eight week stay at number one. In the entire year of 1948 only one other artist occupied the top spot when Jimmy Wakley’s One Has My Name (the other has my heart) pushed Arnold from the top-selling position, but by Christmas Day of 1948 –you guessed it — the Tennessee Plowboy was again number one.
Chart History – The 1950′s
Recently the entire country music world was saddened by the passing of the original queen of country music Miss Kitty Wells at the age of 92. Muriel Ellen Deason (Kitty’s real name) was a Nashville native and had already become a member of the Opry following the massive success of her breakthrough number one It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. Angels was an answer song to Hank Thompson’s Wild Side Of Life, two of her other top 10 answer songs Paying For That Backstreet Affair which of course was a spinoff of Webb Pierce’s classic and Hey Joe the answer song to Carl Smith’s hit. Those songs would solidify Kitty Wells as a bona fide country star by 1954.
Decca Records decided to use Kitty’s newfound fame and team her up with fellow Decca star Red Foley. Foley had been kickin out number ones since 1944, and was no stranger to singing duets. Red and E.T. enjoyed several number ones by this time. Putting the established star Foley with the new star Wells would be a perfect match on vinyl when Decca released the duet One By One this week in country music chart history. One By One would stay on top for only one week but would have a 40 week run on the charts. Foley would be elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1967, but would be known more as Pat Boone’s father-in-law and the grandfather of Debbie Boone. Kitty would have many number ones in a 20+ year recording career and also become a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee herself in 1976. As I tweeted to other fans upon her death recently, “we lost a true pioneer for all female singers” since the first queen of country music is gone but definitely not forgotten.”
Chart History – The 1960′s
Into the 60s now and a look at one of the classic songs that defined country music in this decade. This song would ultimately define this artist contributing to the ever-growing Nashville sound of the day. The song, Almost Persuaded, the year 1966 and the artist –you got it– David Houston. Almost Persuaded would be Houston’s first number one hit and his career signature song. This song would become a monster smash for David and would say on top for nine weeks or most of the summer of 66. A lot of almost’s are a big part of this big hit, like it almost wasn’t written, almost never recorded, and almost not released . It’s still the last nine week number one song. If you want to know more about this, and for the full story go to our website and click on the blog for David Houston. Almost Persuaded would pave the way for two 1966 Grammys for Houston and many other awards in a nearly 30 year career.
Chart History – The 1970′s
In the bicentennial year of 1976 the gentle giant Don Williams was on top of the country music world with another Bob McDill Penned song Say It Again. For the Texas born Williams this song would mark his fifth time at number one. Don first burst on the country music scene back in 1973 with The Shelter Of Your Eyes and a year later would have his first top seller. Say It Again would be his fourth number one in a row for the label, which would become the ABC label by this time. McDill, now a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and a fellow Texan, worked well with Dandy Don Williams giving Don the hits Rake And Ramblin Man, Good Ole Boys Like Me and countless others. Williams would comment about Say It Again, “it’s just one of those McDill songs I didn’t hardly have to touch it, it just worked for me”. It sure did Don, and put the gentle giant back on top this week in country music chart history.
Chart History – The 1980′s
This week in 1988 Kentucky native Keith Whitley was fulfilling a lifetime dream with his first number one hit Don’t Close Your Eyes. Whitley, who started his music career at age 9, would join fellow teen Ricky Skaggs in Ralph Stanley’s bluegrass band at the age of 15. But Keith had a love for country music and finally got his chance to record country music in 1983. A few years later Whitley was on RCA records debuting with Miami, My Amy and following that up with the top 10 hit Ten Feet Away. Keith recorded another album in 1987 but he didn’t like it and ended up shelving it; then in 1988 Keith co-produced his next project with Garth Fundis for RCA records. Enter Bob McDill once again with this song Don’t Close Your Eyes. Keith heard it in October of 87 recorded in November of 87 and nine months later it was number one. Keith would top the charts five more times in a career that was over before it’s time. Whitley would marry country star Lorie Morgan in 1986, and of course as we all know would die of alcohol poisoning on May ninth of 1989 at the tender age of 33. After his death RCA would keep releasing Whitley material well into the 90s including duets with Earl Thomas Conley (ETC) and with his wife Lorie Morgan.
Well that’s it for another edition. Thanks so much for taking a tour with us through the country charts – hope you enjoyed the show. I’m Darrell Lee and we’ll see you next time for This Week in Country Music Chart History.