My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 3/31/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

1952: (When You Feel Like You’re In Love)Don’t Just Stand There — Carl Smith (Columbia)

1962: She’s Got You — Patsy Cline (Decca)

1972: My Hang-up Is You — Freddie Hart (Capitol)

1982: She Left Love All Over Me — Razzy Bailey (RCA)

1992: Is There Life Out There — Reba McEntire (MCA)

2002: Blessed — Martina McBride (RCA)

2012: Ours — Taylor Swift (Big Machine)

19 responses to “Week ending 3/31/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Jonathan Pappalardo April 1, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Some excellent material here. “She’s Got You” is one of my all-time favorite of Patsy’s recordings. I just heard it the other day and it never gets old. “Is There Life Out There” remains one of Reba’s best 90s songs and apart from “Fancy” I don’t think she’s made a better video.

    Looking at this, though, I hadn’t realized the ten year anniversary of Martina McBride’s last #1 was already upon us. While she hasn’t released much by way of quality music in the years since, I still think its been far too long since she’s had such a big radio single. Maybe “Marry Me” will reverse those fortunes.

    • Michael A. April 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

      After “Blessed” there was a two year stretch when no female artist had a #1 hit. Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” finally ended the drought in mid 2004.

      I think I’d rank “Is There Life Out There” as Reba’s third greatest video. I like “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” better.

    • Razor X April 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      “Is There Life Out There” was never one of my favorite Reba songs. It’s OK but I’ve never liked it as much as other people seemed to. I liked songs like “For My Broken Heart”, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”, “It’s Your Call” and “Take It Back” a lot better than this one.

  2. luckyoldsun April 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Razzy Bailey is from that era country singers who showed a lot of soul and were quite good–Joe Stampley, Con Hunley–but for some reason got pushed off the scene and seemed to be totally forgotten. Stampley was able to reinvent himself with that Moe-and-Joe good-old-boy act.

  3. Ken Johnson April 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    For most of the 1950’s Billboard Magazine published three separate surveys for each musical genre. Country charts ranked the most-played records on jukeboxes, the most-played records by disc jockeys and the best-selling records at retail outlets. Back then number one records would often drop out of the #1 position for a time and then return to the top later. Additionally there could be a total of three #1 hits for any given week as different songs topped each survey. Those charts encompassed far fewer titles than today’s survey. The jukebox and the disc jockey surveys never ranked more than 15 recordings. The best-seller chart generally fluctuated between 5 and 20 titles. All three charts were eventually combined into one 30 song “Hot C&W Sides” survey on October 20, 1958.

    Given the extremely short length of the Billboard charts back then it was quite an accomplishment for any record to chart much less earn the #1 position on any of the surveys. That makes it even more impressive that during this week in 1952 Carl Smith held the #1 position on all three charts. His brand new single “(When You Feel Like You’re In Love) Don’t Just Stand There ” occupied the #1 spot on the disc jockey chart while his previous record “Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way” topped both the jukebox & best-selling surveys.

    Carl was one of the first country acts to possess both movie star looks and a superb singing voice. One of the youngest stars of his generation Carl was only in his mid-20’s when his career began to flourish. The popularity of Carl Smith during that era cannot be overstated. During the 1952 calendar year Carl scored 3 number one records and two other top 10 hits. By the end of that decade Carl had amassed over 30 top ten country singles.

  4. Elyse Howdershell April 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Check out this sweet song by Casey James:) I live his acoustic vids..

    Drive: http://vevo.ly/AExGzc\

  5. Paul W Dennis April 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I’ve always been fond of the 1952 entry “Don’t Just Stand There” by Carl Smith – it held onto the #1 slot for eight weeks and was the number one record on the day I was born (the number one pop record was “Wheel of Fortune by Kay Starr – a prophetic choice since my wife’s name is Kay and she is the star of my universe). As an aside, I am not really a souvenir collector but I thought it would be nice to have a copy of the Life Magazine cover from my birth week. SInce that week featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover, that’ll never happen (copies go for about $8000 ! )

    This is actually a pretty good week all told. Patsy Cline hit is still a favorite of girl singers at karaoke bars everywhere. I’m not wild about “Blessed” and Taylor Swift doesn’t sing well, but even they are okay

    I liked the Razzy Bailey entry but … I thin Razzy’s best recordings were made after he stopped having hit records

    • Ken Johnson April 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Razzy Bailey tallied 5 number one hits and 8 additional top ten songs from 1978 -1982. However RCA dropped him from the label in 1984. Extensive radio airplay and chart hits never translated into significant record sales. “She Left Love All Over Me” was Razzy’s final #1 hit.

      Sylvia is another 1980’s RCA act that suffered from a similar situation. She too had a lot of chart hits but generally anemic record sales. Record labels notoriously manipulated the trade magazine charts during that era. Many #1 songs just sold a handful of copies.

      • luckyoldsun April 3, 2012 at 12:24 am

        I remember around 1980-82 hearing Sylvia’s song “Nobody” on the same station tha was playing “The Pina Colada Song,” Dianna Ross’s “Upside Down” and Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love A Rainy Night.” Not that I gave it much thought, but I was under the impression that Sylvia was a black r&b singer.

        I was surprised to learn later that Sylvia and Eddie Rabbit were country singers.

        • Ken Johnson April 3, 2012 at 9:50 am

          Country music’s Sylvia (Sylvia Kirby Hutton) was sometimes confused with a black R&B/pop singer who also billed herself by the same first name. That other “Sylvia” was Sylvia Vanderpool Robinson who first recorded as “Little Sylvia” in the early 1950’s. She later teamed with McHouston “Mickey” Baker for a series of duets as “Mickey & Sylvia.” Their biggest pop/R&B hit was “Love Is Strange” in 1957. Sylvia later went solo and scored a scandalous pop hit with “Pillow Talk” [#3 in 1973] where she explicitly recreated the throes of passion on vinyl. If you think some of today’s songs are too suggestive check out that one!

          Another aspect of Sylvia’s career is the source of some confusion in the country music world. In 1979 she co-founded Sugar Hill Records with her husband Joe Robinson. That label gave birth to early rap music acts including the The Sugarhill Gang. It closed down in 1986. That company shared the same name with a completely different country/bluegrass/Americana label that began in North Carolina in 1978 and today serves as home to acts including Joey & Rory, Pat Green, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith and Don Williams.

          Sylvia Robinson died last year.

      • Razor X April 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

        At one point Sylvia was RCA Nashville’s second best-selling act after Alabama. This was probably around the time that “Nobody” was on the charts. It was a gold single — I believe the only gold single awarded in country music that year (1982). She was never able to match that success; she had a decent number of chart hits after that but I have no idea what her sales were like during that period.

        There seems to have been a big shake-up at RCA during that time, with artists like Sylvia and Razzy Bailey being dropped from the label and veteran acts like Charley Pride and Dolly Parton leaving because they felt they weren’t getting enough promotional support.

        • Ken Johnson April 3, 2012 at 10:20 am

          RCA dropped Charley Pride in 1986 due to the lack of hits and poor record sales. His last top ten hit for RCA was in 1984 followed by five consecutive singles that failed to hit. I’m a big Pride fan but Charley’s music was pretty lackluster in that era. Dolly left RCA because Columbia offered her ridiculous money. They viewed her as a potential pop moneymaker. Their gamble never paid off. Dolly scored two more solo country hits and a duet with hot newcomer Ricky Van Shelton but she never achieved the stratospheric sales Columbia had envisioned.

          Unfortunately when a veteran artist fails to release compelling music and no longer has hit recordings they usually blame their record label for a lack of promotional support. In most situations that is seldom the case. You can’t make a hit from mediocre material. Also some acts whose popularity has faded expect to receive the same big dollar contracts that they had in their glory years. The business doesn’t work that way. Johnny Cash released anemic music and had gone hitless for several years during the 1980’s when he demanded that Columbia offer him the same money as his daughter Rosanne who was selling millions of records at the time. Meanwhile Johnny’s albums were not even cracking the album charts. For Columbia the numbers just didn’t add up. Cash went to Mercury Records where success failed to return. He eventually found a new audience with his American Recordings but never had any more chart hits.

  6. Razor X April 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Ken said, “You can’t make a hit from mediocre material.”

    Um, have you taken a look at some of the titles have topped the charts the past couple of years? Most ot them are mediocre at best and quite a lot of them are downright terrible.

    I do hear what you’re saying, though. It’s only natural that labels will focus their resources on newer acts that have more sales potential. I agree that Pride’s music wasn’t as good near the end of his tenure with RCA. But it does become sort of a chicken-and-egg kind of argument. The labels concentrate on promoting newer acts and the older acts complain that their records aren’t getting enough support. And if the material is to blame, it’s often alleged that older acts who are no longer selling no longer get first crack at the best songs. So are their sales declining due to mediocre material or is mediocre material all they have to choose from because they’re no longer selling well? I really don’t know well.

    It’s well documented that Cash and Columbia parted ways very acrimoniously. And it’s true that his records for Mercury didn’t sell any better, but in his defense, I always thought his Mercury albums were quite good. I think that with a few exceptions, it’s just hard to market artists once they get past a certain age.

    • Ken Johnson April 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Razor X:

      Mediocrity is in the ear of the listener. No question that you & I consider the majority of today’s country hits mediocre at best (or as you most correctly stated – terrible) But the majority of today’s so-called country fans/listeners actually believe that these new songs are absolutely wonderful. They request them on radio and purchase them. Perhaps it’s because they lack a true perspective as most of the music that they have grown up with for the past 15+ years is pretty lame. For God’s sake most younger listeners actually believe that hip-hop/rap requires actual musical talent! In any event that which would be considered mediocre 20 years ago is topline hit material today. Sad but yet another example of our 21st century dumbed-down culture.

      I agree that Cash’s Mercury output was rather good musically. However he seemed to be unable to find single releases that were relevant. He also wasted too much time re-recording his old hits. The new recordings did not improve them.

      • luckyoldsun April 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

        I have to assume that that was part of the deal when Cash went to Mercury–that he’d re-record his old hits for them so that Mercury could have them in their catalog for buyers who wouldn’t know the difference.

        • Razor X April 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

          In most cases no attempt was made to recreate the sounds of the originals. The Mercury version of “Ring of Fire” doesn’t even have Mariachi horns. I think the sales gimmick at play was that the remakes were digitally recorded. But as Ken said, they weren’t improvements. The remastered originals were far superior.

        • Ken Johnson April 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

          I agree that due to very little of Cash’s Columbia back catalog being available on CD at the dawn of the CD era (late 1980’s) brand new Cash CD’s with familiar titles definitely had sales appeal. As Razor X pointed out thankfully Cash generally did not attempt to recreate his earlier hits note-for-note as many other country artists that change record labels often do. Though rather well done I share the opinion that you just can’t beat the original recordings.

        • luckyoldsun April 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

          I remember seeing the Mercury CD at Tower Records. It had a title like “Classic Cash” and it contained all of his big early hits.
          As I recall, there was nothing on the package indicating that these were new recordings. At least nothing prominent. (I can’t swear that there was no disclaimer that you might have found if you examined the package with the aid of a magnifying glass and some sort of filter.)
          And it’s true that that was before Sony made a sport of releasing a new Cash complilation every other month, so there was not a lot available on him at the time.
          I think the intent was to sell the CD to buyers and let them discover later that the recordings were not the originals.

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