This Week in Chart History – July 29

by Darrell Lee

records This Week in Chart History   July 29



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 July 29th.




Jack Guthrie – Oklahoma Hills


Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line


Claude King – Wolverton Mountain


Donna Fargo – You Can’t Be a Beacon


Ricky Van Shelton – Don’t We All Have The Right

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Hello again friends, I’m Darrell Lee and welcome to another edition of This Week In Country Music Chart History.

All the songs that made to the top the charts 1940 to 1990… 50 years of classic number one hits coming your way. We take a look at the week of 7/29 now.

Chart History – 1940′s

In the summer of 1945 the Capitol recording of Oklahoma Hills by Jack Guthrie was in the middle of a six-week stay on top of the country music charts. For Jack Guthrie and his Oklahomans, this song would be his first and only number one hit. Jack was born in Olive, OK but then moved to California with his family during the dust bowl years.

Leon (Jack) Guthrie was a cousin of famed folk and Americana writer Woody Guthrie who had become famous for This Land Is Your Land and others by this time. Oklahoma Hills was a song that Woody Guthrie actually wrote, although Jack changed the lyrics. It would resurface 16 years later when Hank Thompson and his Brazos Valley Boys scored their own top 10 hit with it. Guthrie would enjoy only two more top fives including Okie Boogie in 1947, in a two-year recording career that was tragically cut short by Jack Guthrie’s sudden death of tuberculosis at the tender age of 32.

Chart History – 1950′s

This week in country music chart history Country music and Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer,and the Man in Black, Johnny Cash was on top with his first of countless number one’s way back in 1956. With the Sun recording of I Walk The Line, Arkansas born JR, John Ray – first burst onto the scene with label mates Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee, and Elvis in the mid-50s as rockabilly artists for Sam Phillips’s Sun Records.

After Cry Cry Cry a top 20 seller, Johnny went for the more realistic and harder edged material that would one day make him famous. I Walk The Line was the follow-up to his first recording of Folsom Prison Blues, which was a top five hit. Although simple musically, being backed by the Tennessee Two, the hardness of Johnny’s lyrics along with the smoothness of the rhythms were a perfect match.

For many this song was thought to be a hit for Johnny in the late 60s and early 70s, but was actually finishing up an incredible six-week run at the top of the charts in 1956. The song would stay on the charts almost a year later, 43 weeks in all, and would be number one for the Man in Black, before he was the Man in Black, This Week In Country Music Chart History. I’ve included a video of a young Johnny Cash in white on the Tex Ritter Show below.

Chart History – 1960′s

Now we look into the 60s, and the year 1962. A lot of great songs to choose from but none could match the chart success of this song in the summer of 62. The smash hit Wolverton Mountain by Shreveport Louisiana native Claude King was tearing up the charts in the middle of a nine week run as the nation’s number one song. The Columbia Records release of Wolverton Mountain would cross over into the pop charts as well and become a top 10 pop seller. King, a regular on the Louisiana hayride, spent about 10 years on smaller labels before signing with Columbia in 1961.

Big River, Big Man and the Comancheros, two top tens, paved the way for this gold million seller. A few more top tens from King in the 60s would be it, and by 1972 King had left Columbia, eventually retiring in the 80s.

Chart History – 1970′s

In 1974 the mood of the nation, due to the ongoing Watergate Scandal, was in a state of disbelief. But forever the optimist Yvonne Vaughn Silver, Donna Fargo as we know her, set out to do something positive for America. Fargo had not really planned to record a gospel sounding record, but after passing on other songs given to them by writer Marty Cooper. Producer Stan Silver (Donna’s husband, of course) thought the time was right. So Silver called Cooper and in a few days Fargo was in the studio recording You Can’t Be A Beacon (if your light don’t  shine). This Dot Records song about good works from a Bible passage would be the right song for the times and give Donna her fifth number one hit this week in country music chart history.

Her next single U.S of A would also follow along the same lines. Donna would have one more number one in 1977 with That Was Yesterday. Although diagnosed with MS in 1979, Donna kept charting, however, right into the 80s and still performs to this day. Check out Donna’s backwards bibs on Pop Goes The Country in the video below.

Chart History – 1980′s

That brings us to the 80s. Around Nashville it’s known that great writers pass on, but their songs never do. Such is the case for an old Roger Miller tune called Don’t We All Have The Right. This song found its way to Columbia producer Steve Buckingham and CBS’s soon-to-be star Virginia born Ricky Van Shelton (or RVS as his fans would soon know him). Ricky Van (Van is his middle name) was sitting around in Buckingham’s office looking for material for Ricky Van’s debut Columbia album called Wild Eyed Dream when out came this song. Everyone thought that this was the one and the country music public proved them right, when Shelton took it to the top in 1988.

This would be Shelton’s third straight number one hit of an incredible five straight top Sellers 1987 to 1989 earning Shelton the CMA Horizon Award and 89 CMA Male Vocalist Of  The Year Award. The album Wild Eyed Dream would eventually be a platinum seller. RVS, Ricky Van Shelton, number one this week in country music chart history. A video below shows Ricky performing this on a 1988 awards show.

Well that’s our look back at all the great songs and terrific artists that made it to number one this week in chart history. Hope you join us next time…I’m Darrell Lee — thanks for listening.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike July 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I actually have the memorial album that Capitol put out when Jack Guthrie died. It’s 4 78rpm’s, and includes “Oklahoma Hills”, which plays perfectly, without a scratch and hardly any noise.


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