This is my classic country music category. You’ll find music along the lines of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. I’m very picky when it comes to country music, but I think you’ll like what I put in this category.
Ok, I guess I’m slightly late with this one. But, better late than never. Luke Combs is positioned at #9 with his new cover of an old song, originally written and performed by the legendary Tracy Chapman in 1987. The song is called Fast Car. This is a beautifully written song, yet a simple enough melody that just about every person I heard cover this song has done well performing it. This song was considered R&B, and I was just amazed on how just a slight change of a few cords tuned this cover into a beautiful country song.
Song: Let Your Love Flow
Artist: The Bellamy Brothers
Album: The Bellamy Brothers (1976)
Of all the genres I’ve written about, this is probably about the second country band that fell in to the black obscure hole. Well, at least to those who may not be serious country fans. I think folk who like country music tend to have a better memory of obscure country artist than any other genre (I think anyway). I can’t say that I was really in to The Bellamy Brothers’ music very much. However, I do think they were talented tho. If I heard them on the radio I’d listen and usually enjoy, but I wasn’t moved enough to buy their records.
The Bellamy Brothers Where One Hit Wonders!!
However, I was hooked on one song they recorded called “Let Your Love Flow.” I was about 8 years old when this song came out. The song not only shot up to #1 on the American Billboard Top 100 Chart, it also did well in Canada and Australia. Spotify has them registered as over 61M plays. Understand (well, at least in my opinion) that that number is huge, when you consider there was no music streaming in the 70s or 80s.
Their Love Definitely Flowed Directly To Their Bank!!
There is no question that “Let Your Love Flow” was the song that catapulted their career (in my opinion). From the little information I gathered from the Billboard Charts, it looks like this was their only official number one hit. Only two other songs registered on the charts. A song called “Satin Sheets (1976),” which reached #75th position. And a song called “Hell Cat (1976),” and reached #70th position. All 3 were actually on the same album. “Hell Cat,” was actually a great song. It’s a shame it did not claim hire than it did.
Artist: Michael Martin Murphey
I don’t know guys, I may or may not turn you off with today’s selection? But, like I’ve always said, my tastes are extremely diverse, and that quality is one of the reasons why I decided to start this blog ?. If you asked me which “go to” genre I loved the most, that would be a really difficult question. Perhaps that question would be easier answered, if I broke them down by era. My primary genres really depended on the decade I was in. I think in the 70’s I was drawn to more “easy listening” type music, which included country. I may be bias, but in my opinion, I think the 70s yielded some of the best love ballads of all-times.
A Love Song Between A Man And His Horse!
Now, let me give you some real context. A male country artist (in the 70s) can write a song about his love for a pony, and become a successful hit! I can’t even remember anywhere in time, any American has a song about any animal (not even a dog, and Americans love dogs) and became a massive hit ?! I don’t believe this could be done today, even with the most ardent country music fans.
His Song Made High Scores On The Billboard!
Murphey’s song “Wildfire (1975),” hit #1 in Canada. In the U.S., it hit #1 on Easy Listening, and #3 on the Top 100 Charts. It’s still a beautiful song tho. Very calming, as well as a beautiful story behind the lyrics. Murphy has had quite a few hit songs after “Wildfire.” About 11 Top 10 Hits to be exact. He also one a few awards for some of his albums. However, I’m sorry to say that I only loved “Wildfire.” Not that I thought his music was bad, I just wasn’t drawn to it. If I were to be honest, I think it probably was because he performs traditional country, whereas my country tastes are a little more modern than that. So, I can’t say he’s a “one hit wonder,” just only loved one song. Today, Mr. Murphey is around 75 years old.
Song: I Love The Rainy Night
Artist: Eddie Rabbitt
Genre: Traditional Country
Well, I can say for sure, the majority of my young listening don’t have a single clue about who the late Eddie Rabbitt was. Those who did not listen to country music back in the 80s have no idea just how huge Eddie Rabbitt was. He was truly a talented hit maker! In fact, his music at times didn’t even sound like country, it sounded more like borderline pop music. I love to hear that kind of diversity in an artists music. Eddie has made quite a few popular favorites of mine. I haven’t listened to any of his music for a long time; and listening to it recently just reminded me just how fun it was to listen to his work.
My Absolute Favorite Was His Duet With Crystal Gayle!
I love his song “I Love The Rainy Night (1981),” because it’s a song for everyone, whether you’re young or old. Almost everyone can relate to it in someway. So much of country music consisted of artists singing about either a broken heart, or something they like to do on their farm or something. This song was in essence about enjoying life, and enjoying the moment. Everybody can relate to that! The song shot up to #1, and stayed there for 2 weeks.
Another deep favorite of mine, is the duet Eddie did with the legendary Crystal Gayle. A song called “You And I (1983).” I thought this was such a beautiful song. Crystal’s voice was definitely on point for this song. Man, all these great potential wedding songs, and growing up I had not heard anyone play them in my surroundings. What a shame. This song shot up to #7. Another great hit he had was called “Drivin’ My Life Away (1980).” This was a very catchy tune. This song hit #5 on the Top 100. I didn’t realize until today that Eddie passed away some time in 1998 of a failed liver. So sad to read that we’ve lost such a great talent.
Artist: Jimmy Buffett
Most definitely, this artist’s music is truly obscure. Despite a lot of country fans loved his music, I wasn’t really in to him. “Margaritaville” was the only popular song I really liked from him. I guess largely because it was a very catchy tune. It’s the first “tropical” like country song I’ve ever heard! ? The song reached #8 on the Top 100 Chart. As far as I can tell, Margaritaville remained the biggest hit of his career. At age 72, not only is he still performing, he’s also get a few restaurants in Florida. You’ll never guess what it’s called? Well, Margaritaville Cafe” of course! ?
Introducing, Reggae Bonnie, from country music!! Just kidding ? You know, I don’t think I would be completely out of line, if I were to say that most long-time musicians had recorded at least ONE reggae song throughout their career, regardless of what their core genre is. Hell, even the hugely popular classic rock group “Blondie” recorded a reggae song. I guess… Why not? Reggae is good music when done right!
I Would Have Never Guessed She Was A Country Singer!
Bonnie Raitt did such a wonderful job performing this song. I have to say, when I first heard her sing “Have A Heart (1989),” if I didn’t already know who she was, I would have never guessed she was actually a country singer. The song was written by singer & record producer, Bonnie Hayes. I think it’s such a nice song with lyrics everyone can relate to. I was disappointed that the song only peaked at #49 on the Top 100.
So, despite the fact that Bonnie is such a talented performer, my next favorite song from her called “Something To Talk About (1991),” was the closest thing she ever had to a number one hit. The song peaked at #5 on the Top 100. It’s a very cute and youthful country song about two people in a new relationship, who really care for each other.
Oh, for goodness sake! I almost forgot about another major, major favorite of mine. I am also dumbfounded that this wasn’t a number one hit either. Do any of my readers remember her song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me (1991)?” If you love sentimental love songs, a song like this would cut deep when you hear it. Listening to the lyrics would have you saying “yes, yes, I can relate, I know what you mean.” This amazing song only peaked at #18.10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes Clearance
I’m pretty sure that for most of my readers, the name Crystal Gayle goes right over your heads. In terms of country music, Crystal Gayle was one of the hottest performers in the mid 70s. Her first single released in 1977 called “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” became a massive hit for Crystal. It shot up to #1 on the Country Charts, and #2 on the Top 100 Charts, and #1 in Canada! What this song was like what “Stormy Weather” did for Lena Horne. Crystal Gayle became a household name after her first single.
Her Long Hair Became Her Trademark!
Crystal was young, beautiful, reserved, and her class showed in her album covers. However, even with her (then) massive hit song, it appeared that people remembered her even more for her extremely long hair. It wasn’t before long that her hair became her trademark. I think this was a smart move, as very few female country singers kept their hair as long as Crystal. In fact, I dare to say that the majority of them back in the day wore a lot of wigs. Some of those being Dolly Parton, and let’s not forget about Loretta Lynn.
Her Music Transcends Age & Genre
You know, when I was a kid, I never thought of her music as “country music.” I simply saw them as beautiful ballads. I guess that’s when you know a song transcends over music categories and age groups. This is something I don’t think we’ll ever hear again in the streaming age; unless we are searching for classic music.
Duet With Eddie Rabbitt
She has also made some beautiful & romantic duets; one of which is my favorite called “You and I,” with Eddie Rabbitt. The song was released in 1983, and hit #7 on the Top 100 Charts. I think when I heard this song, was the first time I started to hear the country in her music. If you love Crystal’s music, I recommend another beautiful short ballad called “Talking In Your Sleep.” It was released in 1978 and reached #18 on the Top 100 Chart.
Ok, ok.You can pick yourself from off the floor now from laughter! Yes, I do love some of Dolly Parton’s earlier country music. That’s why I’m a blogger; because my tastes are eclectic; and you can rediscover music history on my blog. Now, Dolly has one of those rare unique voices that requires writers that understands her voice. Having said that, I’m not going to lie, there are specific Dolly songs that I love (over the rest of them). I’ve listened to a lot of her music, and a huge chunk of her music made me feel like I was listening to children’s songs (regardless what the lyrics were). However, I guess that doesn’t really matter because millions of people still love her music today.
Proof of that is her 1980’s song “9To5,” from the movie “9To5 (1980),” which she also co-starred with Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin (Ringy Dingy). Now, keep in mind that in 1980, there was no Spotify, having said that, as of today, Dolly’s 9To5 as reached over 92+ million plays. That’s a lot of change that song made. Spotify didn’t come to the U.S. until about 2009; so that gives you an idea of her fan base.
Now, I don’t think I remember the full story, but I think it goes something like this. There were two versions of the song 9To5. There was Dolly’s version, and then there was Sheena Easton’s version. Only one could be on the soundtrack, so they chose Dolly’s version. However, the record labels still liked Sheena’s version; so they waited about a year after Dolly’s version was released; renamed Sheena’s song to “Midnight Train (Nine To Five),” so that there was no confusion with the movie 9To5; then released it in 1981. Both became successful hits! Dolly’s hit #1 for two weeks; and Sheena’s version also hit #1 for two weeks!
I know I’ve written more than I planned, but before I close I do want you to check out Dolly’s “Hard Candy (1982).” Dolly said this was her first song she ever written as a child (if I remember correctly) during the xmas season. When I listen to it, I don’t perceive it to be about xmas at all, but someone who just gone through a lot of things, and just trying to pick up the pieces. It’s a beautiful song I think.