My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Week ending 10/1/11: #1 singles this week in country music history

1951: Always Late With Your Kisses — Lefty Frizzell (Columbia)

1961: Walk On By — Leroy Van Dyke (Mercury)

1971: The Year Clayton Delaney Died — Tom T. Hall (Mercury)

1981: Tight Fittin’ Jeans — Conway Twitty (MCA)

1991: Where Are You Now — Clint Black (RCA)

2001: What I Really Meant To Say — Cyndi Thomson (Capitol)

2011: Take A Back Road — Rodney Atkins (Curb)

14 responses to “Week ending 10/1/11: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Danny Barker October 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    .Tthey are all great songs but I have to say that my favorite Tom T. Hall The year that Clayton Delaney Die. I got to see Tom T. Hall in the 70’s At the Fountain Blue in Miami Beach What you see and here is prue Tom T. Hll.

  2. luckyoldsun October 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It’s funny–“Walk On By” spent umpteen weeks at #1 and has been designated the biggest country single in history, and “The Auctioneer” barely made the top-10–but I’d be willing to bet that if Leroy Van Dyke could only have one of them, he’d keep “The Auctioneer.” I’m sure he’d tell you that “The Auctioneer” is the song that fans pay money to hear and that’s given him a 50-plus year career as a performer and personality.

    (Sort of like Lee Greenwood would give up any of his #1’s–and probably ALL of them–to keep “God Bless the USA.”)

    • Ken Johnson October 3, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Leroy wrote “The Auctioneer” around 1953 about his cousin Ray Sims who was a livestock auctioneer. Van Dyke himself had attended an auctioneer school between his junior and senior years in college which helped him to create the authentic rapid fire lyrics and then perform them with the proper cadence. Unfortunately when he recorded the song for Dot Records in 1956 he unknowingly gave a major portion of the songwriting credit to his manager while signing papers related to the recording session. Leroy claimed that error ultimately cost him thousands of dollars.

      While “The Auctioneer” was a current hit (late 1956-early 1957) Billboard Magazine had three country charts. That single peaked at #9 on the “Most Played By C&W Disc Jockeys” survey which would indicate a strong level of listener requests. It also ranked #10 on the “Most Played C&W In Juke Boxes” which showed that a lot of nickels were being dropped in the slot to hear it. However it’s failure to appear on the “C&W Best Sellers In Stores” may have been more of a statistical issue rather than a lack of sales. The country sales chart only encompassed a maximum of 15 positions at that time so it may have hovered just outside of the published tabulation rankings. Another possible reason is explained in the next paragraph.

      “The Auctioneer” also charted on all three Billboard Pop charts peaking at #19 on the Juke Box survey, #21 on the Best Seller chart and #29 on the Top 100. The pop radio exposure helped it to sell a substantial number of singles. Record stores may have considered it more of a pop record than country and therefore did not report it to Billboard as a “country” best seller which may explain it’s total absence from the country chart. It is believed that the single ultimately sold well over a million copies but cannot be accurately documented as it was in the era before the RIAA certified gold records.

      “Walk On By” was a monster hit record in every sense of the word. A #1 country hit for 19 weeks, a #5 pop hit and an international hit peaking at #5 in England. By the way, it was the great Hank “Sugarfoot” Garland who played the memorable twangy lead guitar on that recording. Leroy did not write the song, it was written by Kendall Hayes. Speculation is that domestically and overseas the record may have sold over two million singles.

      Of the two records my guess is that given the wider international success of “Walk On By” it likely produced substantially more money for Leroy in the long run. However as Lucky Old Sun pointed out, “The Auctioneer” is the song most folks first think of when they hear Leroy’s name. If any artist can be credited with having TWO career records, Leroy Van Dyke definitely takes that honor.

      • luckyoldsun October 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

        Well I’m sure he sings both songs at all of his own concerts, but I’d bet you that Van Dyke gets way more invitations to perform “The Auctioneer” at other sorts of events–TV, corporate, charity, promotional, advertising, what-have-you than he does to sing “Walk On By.” And I bet that’s been true for the last 30 years.
        Heck, I’d definitely go across town to see him do “The Auctioneer” (not that I’m expecting that to happen, at this late stage, in NYC).

  3. J.R. Journey October 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I actually sort of like all of these songs – even this week’s #1 has grown on me – but the 1971-01 entries are some of my favorite songs by each respective artist.

  4. Razor X October 2, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    My parents thought that the lyrics to “Tight Fittin’ Jeans” were too risque for me to listen to.

    • luckyoldsun October 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Well, Conway was probably the main inspiration for Jimmy Buffet when he wrote “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw?”

    • J.R. Journey October 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Conway may have covered “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” if he were around today.

      • Ken Johnson October 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

        According to Conway his wife Dee Henry HATED the song. I remember playing the song on the radio when it was a current hit and as an oldie for many years afterwards. Gotta say that it was consistently one of the most requested Conway hits. Most of those requests came from women so go figure. Maybe they fantasized that they were the ones in the song spending the evening “dancing” with Conway.

        The sexuality is actually implied. If you carefully examine the lyrics you realize that nothing is explicitly described. It’s all in the mind of the listener.

        By the way, there are two different versions of that song. The single hit features a more prominent twangy lead guitar and much louder fiddle than the original album version released on the 1981 “Mr. T” album. Conway remixed the recording for the single release after the album was already mastered. Most of the MCA/Universal Conway Twitty CD hit compilations include that non-hit version. The hit version is available on the 4-CD “Conway Twitty Collection” box set and on the Conway Twitty volume of Time/Life’s Legendary Country Singers series.

        • Razor X October 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

          “The sexuality is actually implied. If you carefully examine the lyrics you realize that nothing is explicitly described. It’s all in the mind of the listener.”

          Tell that to my mother. To this day she insists on taking the line “then she knew he saw right through her tight fittin’ jeans” literally.

    • J.R. Journey October 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      I’ve been trying to think of songs I was forbidden to listen to, and I can’t remember any country songs specifically. I do remember posters of The Woman In Me/Come On Over-era Shania Twain being banished from my walls (among other non-country music related celebrities). Coming up in the ’90s, I suspect my parents were just thankful I was listening to Garth Brooks and Reba and not idolizing Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Manson, like so many of my peers. Speaking of Marilyn, Monroe was banned from my wall too.

  5. Paul W Dennis October 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    The biggest hit in history depends on where you draw the line. In 1958 Billboard retitled its chart as “Hot C&W singles” and they relabeled it again several times after that. If 1958 is your line of demarcation, then “Walk On By” is the biggest hit, with 19 weeks at #1. If you go back to the start of the Billboard Country charts on 1/1/1944 then “I’m Moving On” (Hank Snow 1950) is number one with 21 weeks at the top and Eddy Arnold’s “I’ll Hold You In My Heart” (21 weeks at #1 but less weeks in the top ten is #2). Interestiungly enough Cashbox Walk On By” reach #1 but for only one week (Cashbox had it at #2 for eleven weeks and at #3 for five weeks.

    The biggest of the last fifty years is “Almost Persuaded” by David Houston (Cashbox concurs)

    Not a bad week in history – even the current entry isn’t terrible

    • Razor X October 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      I would have guessed that “Walk On By” was a much bigger hit for Leroy Van Dyke than “The Auctioneer.”

      I agree that it’s a pretty decent group of songs overall, but I do think the 2011 offering is pretty awful.

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