My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 8/25/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

1952: It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels — Kitty Wells (Decca)

1962: Wolverton Mountain — Claude King (Columbia)

1972: Bless Your Heart — Freddie Hart & The Heartbeats (Capitol)

1982: Nobody — Sylvia (RCA)

1992: Boot Scootin’ Boogie — Brooks & Dunn (Arista)

2002: The Good Stuff — Kenny Chesney (BNA)

2012: Angel Eyes — Love and Theft (RCA)

One response to “Week ending 8/25/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken Johnson August 26, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Nashville, Tennessee native Muriel Deason performed with Johnnie & Jack (her husband Johnnie Wright and his partner Jack Anglin) beginning in the late 1930’s. She adopted the stage name “Kitty Wells” for her featured role as the girl singer in their act. RCA Records separately signed Johnnie & Jack and Kitty Wells in 1949 but when Kitty’s solo recordings failed to hit she was dropped from the label. At that point the 32 year old housewife and mother would have been satisfied to leave the music business but Johnnie remained convinced that his wife could be a star. He sent Kitty’s recordings to Decca Executive Paul Cohen who signed her to that label. Cohen also believed that he had found the perfect song for her Decca debut courtesy of a Louisiana songwriter. J.D. Miller was listening to Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side Of Life” on his car radio. He had previously thought of composing a sequel to that popular song but had struggled to find the proper concept and lyrics. But on that day inspiration finally hit and he pulled to the side of the road to jot down the lyrics to “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” That was the first song that Kitty Wells recorded at her first session for Decca at Nashville’s Castle Studio on Saturday May 3, 1952. The single entered the Billboard chart on July 19, 1952 and five weeks later displaced the song that had inspired it’s creation from the top of Billboard’s best selling country singles chart. With that classic song Kitty Wells became the first female country artist to score a #1 record.

    Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side Of Life” record actually received a boost from the Kitty Wells’ sequel. Disc jockeys often played both songs back-to-back and the publicity created by Kitty’s hit created renewed interest in Hank’s recording. Though Hank’s single dropped to #2 on the best seller chart it remained atop the jukebox survey this week in 1952.

    Meanwhile Eddy Arnold topped the disc jockey survey for a second week with “Full Time Job.” While this song was a hit Eddy was hosting a summer replacement program for the popular Perry Como Show. The fifteen minute Eddy Arnold Show aired during July and August 1952 on the CBS television network Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7:45-8pm ET.

    Claude King began his 9th and final week at #1 fifty years ago with “Wolverton Mountain.” The single was certified gold and it ranked as Billboard’s #1 country single on the year-end chart for 1962. Clifton Clowers, the real life subject of the song died in 1994 at the age of 102. For Claude the record became the pinnacle of his career as none of his subsequent singles surpassed its amazing success. He earned only three more top ten hits – “The Burning Of Atlanta” (#10/1962), “Tiger Woman” (#6 /1965) and a remake of his friend Johnny Horton’s song “All For The Love Of A Girl” (#9 in 1969).

    Freddie Hart remained on top for a second week with his third #1 hit “Bless Your Heart.” It was the shortest number one record of 1972 clocking in at only 1:52.

    Sylvia Kirby worked as a receptionist at a Nashville music publishing company while dreaming of a singing career. After paying her dues by performing back-up vocals for other artists and recording demos she was signed to RCA records in 1979. For a unique twist RCA chose to use only her first name on the record label. Sylvia’s third single “Tumbleweed” became her first top ten hit in late 1980 and the next single “Drifter” went to #1. Her career then slowed considerably as three subsequent singles did not fare as well. “The Matador” peaked at #7, “Heart On The Mend” stopped at #8 and “Sweet Yesterday completely missed the top ten stalling at #12. Old friendships from her job at the publishing company paid off when writers Kye Fleming & Dennis Morgan created a song especially for Sylvia the night before her recording session. The sing-along lyrics and pop-flavored production of “Nobody” propelled the record to number one thirty years ago this week. The single also went to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.

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