My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 5/12/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

1952: The Wild Side of Life — Hank Thompson (Capitol)

1962: Charlie’s Shoes — Billy Walker (Columbia)

1972: Chantilly Lace — Jerry Lee Lewis (Mercury)

1982: Always On My Mind — Willie Nelson (Columbia)

1992: Neon Moon — Brooks & Dunn (Arista)

2002: My List — Toby Keith (DreamWorks Nashville)

2012: Banjo — Rascal Flatts (Big Machine)

3 responses to “Week ending 5/12/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Paul W Dennis May 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

    “Wild Side of Life” will be with us for quite a while. At the time this record came out, Billboard ran three country charts : Best Seller, Juke Box and Disc Jockey. The song would dominate the Best Seller & Juke Box charts for months but have only eight non-consecutive weeks at #1 in the Disc Jockey chart, losing, regaining and then losing the #1 slot to Webb Pierce’s “That Heart Belongs To Me” . The song will spawn an answer song that will take over the #1 slot on both the Best Seller and Juke Box charts

    “Always On My Mind” was a cover of a Brenda Lee hit from a few years earlier. WIllie’s recording would win a CMA SIngel of the Year award, but I still prefer the Brenda Lee version

    The other songs on this weeks dais I really like except for “Banjo”, which is at least not terrible, in fact it a little better than mediocre

    • Ben Foster May 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      At least “Banjo” does not hurt my ears, which is about all I ask of Rascal Flatts these days.

  2. Ken Johnson May 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    By 1952 Hank Thompson was a well established country performer especially popular throughout the southwestern United States. Four years earlier he scored his first national hit with “Humpty Dumpty Heart” and followed it with four more top ten songs. But Hank hit a barren stretch in 1950 & 1951 when not one of his singles entered the national charts. A 1951 single of “The Wild Side Of Life” by Jimmy Heap & The Melody Masters on the Imperial label failed to chart but it attracted the attention of Hank Thompson’s wife Dorothy. She thought the song was perfect for Hank so at her suggestion he recorded it on December 11, 1951. Though “Cryin’ In The Deep Blue Sea” written by Hank was designated to be the “A” side of the single release it was overshadowed when folks began to drop their nickels into the jukeboxes for the other side. “The Wild Side Of Life” took off and entered the Billboard chart on March 15, 1952 where it remained for the next 30 weeks. At the close of 1952 the song ranked as the number one single for that entire year and became Hank’s biggest career hit. By the way that song “borrowed” the melody from the 1929 Carter Family standard “I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes” which was also repurposed for the sacred classic “The Great Speckled Bird.”

    While Hank Thompson topped the Billboard “best seller” chart that week Carl Smith remained competitive. “(When You Feel Like You’re In Love) Don’t Just Stand There” ranked number one on both the “jukebox” and “disc jockey” surveys.

    After dropping to #2 for one week Billy Walker returned to the top of the Billboard chart for a final week with “Charlie’s Shoes.” Billy added 14 more top ten hits to his discography through 1975 but never achieved another #1 single.

    “Chantilly Lace” Jerry Lee Lewis’ biggest country hit spent it’s third and final week at #1 sharing airplay with it’s “tag-along” B-side “Think About It Darlin’” “Chantilly Lace” received enough pop exposure and sales to peak at #43 on the Hot 100.

    In 1971, Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher and Mark James co-wrote “Always On My Mind.” Wayne Carson recorded the song but his record label did not care for his version and never released it. As Paul mentioned one year later Brenda Lee’s excellent single barely grazed the country chart peaking at #45. Elvis Presley also recorded the song which climbed to #16 as the “A” side of a dual-sided 1973 hit single backed with “Separate Ways.” Then John Wesley Ryles scored a #20 hit on MCA in December 1979. In 1981 Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard were reviewing tunes for their duet album when guitarist Johnny Christopher pitched them the song. Merle didn’t think the song would work as a duet so Willie recorded it as a solo on October 11, 1981. “Always On My Mind” topped the country charts for two weeks bringing Willie his 11th number one hit. It also became a top 5 pop hit.

    “Neon Moon” was the third number one hit from Brooks & Dunn’s debut album “Brand New Man.” It was written by Ronnie Dunn and just like their first two singles “Brand New Man” and “My Next Broken Heart” this single also remained number one for two weeks. The edited single version released to radio trimmed about 20 seconds from the fade of the instrumental ending. John Wesley Ryles (mentioned in the above paragraph) sang backup vocals for the Brand New Man album.

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