My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 7/28/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

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

1962: Wolverton Mountain — Claude King (Columbia)

1972: It’s Gonna Take A Little Bit Longer — Charley Pride (RCA)

1982: Take Me Down — Alabama (RCA)

1992: The River — Garth Brooks (Capitol)

2002: The Good Stuff — Kenny Chesney (BNA)

2012: Even If It Breaks Your Heart — Eli Young Band (Republic Nashville)

2 responses to “Week ending 7/28/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken Johnson July 29, 2012 at 7:29 am

    This week in 1952 Hank Thompson logged a 12th week atop Billboard Magazine’s best selling country singles survey and a 10th week as the most played country single on jukeboxes. After dropping back to #3 the previous week, Webb Pierce returned to the top of the disc jockey chart. Webb’s leap year hit “That Heart Belongs To Me” was recorded at Nashville’s Castle Studio on Friday February 29, 1952 with an all-star backup band that included guitarists Grady Martin & Billy Byrd, Jimmy Day playing steel guitar and Floyd Cramer on piano. Although Webb’s name is on the writing credit for that song he actually purchased it from another singer (see next paragraph) Webb even went as far as claiming that he wrote the song for his second wife Audrey. Buying songs was a common practice at that time and one that Webb continued for years to come.

    Fifty years ago Claude King began his fifth week at the top of the country chart with “Wolverton Mountain” a song that he co-authored with Merle Kilgore. The single had peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 pop survey the previous week. Fame as a songwriter had eluded Claude earlier in his career. Kitty Wells recorded Claude’s song “A Wedding Ring Ago” and released it as her follow-up single to “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Unfortunately the continuing popularity of “Honky Tonk Angels” overshadowed “Wedding Ring” so that single never even charted. Claude recalled writing “That Heart Belongs To Me” one afternoon while his wife was preparing their supper. Claude’s manager Tillman Franks sold that song to Webb Pierce for just one hundred dollars. Claude came to especially regret that transaction when Webb made that song a hit twice. After reaching #1 in 1952 Webb recorded a new version five years later re-titled “Don’t Do It Darlin’ ” Released as the flip side of Webb’s single “Holiday For Love” the updated recording peaked at #12.

    Charley Pride ended 1971 by topping the country survey with his career record “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’.” It was his most successful single spending five weeks at the top of the Billboard country chart and climbing to #21 on the Hot 100 pop survey. Significant airplay supercharged record sales and in March 1972 that single was certified gold. On January 12, 1972 while that single was still high on the charts Charley recorded another song composed by “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’” writer Ben Peters at the RCA Nashville studio. A superb twin fiddle arrangement provided by Johnny Gimble and Tommy Jackson propelled “It’s Gonna Take A Little Bit Longer” to the top of the chart for three consecutive weeks making it the most successful country single during the summer of ’72.

    By early 1982 Alabama had become the hottest act in country music. The group consistently scored number one singles and sold-out their high energy concerts. Their first two RCA albums were multi-million sellers and their new “Mountain Music” album already topped the country album chart. The title track chosen for the first single release went to #1 on the country singles survey in May. For the follow-up single Alabama selected “Take Me Down” composed by J.P. Pennington and Mark Gray from the group Exile. That group had scored a #1 pop record in 1978 with “Kiss You All Over” but was unable to generate a follow-up hit. Their version of “Take Me Down” released in 1980 on the Warner Brothers label had been ignored by pop radio. Alabama recorded the song on July 28, 1981 and like most of their other hits it was edited for single release with almost a minute trimmed from the 4:50 album version. The edited and remixed single became Alabama’s seventh consecutive number one hit 30 years ago this week.

    One year later Exile took advantage of the trail that Alabama had blazed for groups in country music and made their transition from pop to country music eventually earning ten #1 hits. Mark Gray left Exile in 1982 for a solo country music career that netted 5 top ten hits from 1984-86.

  2. Ben Foster July 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    If only Kenny Chesney would go back to recording great songs like “The Good Stuff”…

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