My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 6/30/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

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

1962: Wolverton Mountain — Claude King (Columbia)

1972: That’s Why I Love You Like I Do — Sonny James (Capitol)

1982: Slow Hand — Conway Twitty (Elektra)

1992: Achy Breaky Heart — Billy Ray Cyrus (Mercury)

2002: Living and Living Well — George Strait (MCA)

2012: Springsteen — Eric Church (EMI Nashville)

3 responses to “Week ending 6/30/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Paul W Dennis July 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Sonny James'”That’s Why I Love You Like I Do” was so similar to one of his earlier hits “You’re The Only World I Know” that I was surprised to see it reach the top. But then, everything he released tended to soar toward the top – he had sixteen consecutive singles reach # 1 (this was his first #1 after the string of consecutive #1s had been broken when “Traces was marooned at #2 for two weeks),

    According to Billboard, Sonny James had a total of 23 #1s which spent a total of 66 weeks at the top. He also had three other records hit #1 on Cashbox or Record World. For whatever reason, if remembered at all, he is remembered for “Young Love” and a string of covers of earlier pop & R&B hits, but nine of his #1 records were not covers. In 1983 Sonny retired from performing. Johnny Bush told me in an interview that Sonny may have been suffering from something similar to the Spastic Dysphonia that plagued Bush’s career, but I’ve never been able to confirm this

    “Wolverton Mountain” was written by Claude King and Merle Kilgore Clowers about Merle’s uncle Clifton who lived at the foot of Woolverton Mountain in Arkansaw. Story songs were still popular in 1962 and this one will be with us for quite a while. This would be Claude King’s only #1 record although he would chart a total of thirty times and have five other top ten records. Merle Kilgore also wrote or co-wrote “More and More” ( a big hit for Webb Pierce), “Ring of Fire” (a huge hit for Johnny Cash) and served as Hank Williams Junior’s manager for many years

  2. Ken Johnson July 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    This week in 1952 Hank Thompson topped the Billboard Country charts for a fifth straight week while his brand new Capitol single made it’s chart debut. “Waiting In The Lobby Of Your Heart” arrived at #10 on both the “Best Seller” & “Jukebox” surveys and debuted at #8 on the “Most Played By Disc Jockeys” chart. During it’s entire chart run “Lobby” never unseated Hank’s previous single from the #1 position.

    Claude King became the surprise country/pop star of 1962. A song idea provided by Merle Kilgore was his ticket to major success. In 1959 Merle had written a song using his backwoods Arkansas Uncle Clifton Clowers as the central character. Merle offered the song to numerous artists including Johnny Horton and George Jones but all had turned it down. Two years later Claude King saw potential in the song but wanted to re-work the lyrics. Claude was unaware at the time that Clifton Clowers was a real person. Claude’s revised version of “Wolverton Mountain” was recorded in Nashville on January 26, 1962. Columbia released it as the “B” side to “Little Bitty Heart” but a Minneapolis top 40 disc jockey flipped the single record over and launched Wolverton Mountain’s rise to fame. It ultimately peaked at #6 on the Billboard pop survey. Meanwhile requests and sales from country fans kept the song on the Billboard country chart for 26 weeks. It remained #1 for 9 weeks and at the close of 1962 the song ranked as Billboard’s number one single for that entire year giving Claude his biggest career hit.

    At the end of 1971 Sonny James had a record-setting string of number one hits going all the way back to “Need You” in early 1967. Every one of Sonny’s subsequent Capitol singles had climbed to #1 on the Billboard country survey. The string ended at 16 in early 1972 when his remake of Gene Pitney’s 1962 pop hit “Only Love Can Break A Heart” peaked at #2. [Sonny’s chart-topping accomplishment remained intact until surpassed by Alabama in 1985] Sonny was planning to join the Columbia label in 1972 so Capitol mined their vaults for a new Sonny James single. An unreleased song from a November 20, 1968 session was selected. Sonny had re-recorded a song that was originally released as the “B” side of his 1957 country/pop hit “Young Love.” “You’re The Reason I’m In Love” did not receive as much attention as the popular “A” side though it did receive enough airplay to rise to #6 on Billboard’s “Most Played By Country Disc Jockey’s” survey. The 1968 rendition received a new title “That’s Why I Love You Like I Do” (the line that was most often repeated in the lyrics) and a new arrangement featuring a trumpet chorus. That single became Sonny’s 21st number one country record and his final hit for Capitol.

    Conway Twitty’s version of the Pointer Sisters pop hit “Slow Hand” held on at #1 for a second week in 1982. Conway’s next #1 hit came early the following year and it too was a remake. He covered Bette Midler’s 1980 pop hit “The Rose.”

  3. Ken Johnson July 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    By the way, not sure who the gentleman is in the above photo is but it is not Claude King.

    Here’s Claude circa 1962;

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