My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 9/8/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

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

1962: Devil Woman — Marty Robbins (Columbia)

1972: Woman (Sensuous Woman) — Don Gibson (Hickory)

1982: Love Will Turn You Around — Kenny Rogers (Liberty)

1992: I Still Believe In You — Vince Gill (MCA)

2002: The Good Stuff — Kenny Chesney (BNA)

2012: Over — Blake Shelton (Warner Bros.)

One response to “Week ending 9/8/12: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken Johnson September 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

    It is difficult to imagine that a song recorded by a 32 year old housewife and mother would be banned from airplay by a major radio network but that’s what happened to Kitty Wells. In 1952 a portion of the live Grand Ole Opry show was simulcast on the NBC Radio Network. Execs at that network decided that the lyrics of “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” were deemed “unacceptable because they would offend too many people” Kitty was forbidden to perform the song during the network portion of the program. But when her record climbed to #1 on the Billboard best selling country singles chart, the NBC brass relented allowing that “apparently people do not object to the tune.” That was an understatement. Sixty years ago this week Kitty began her third week atop the best selling country singles survey. The song also ranked as the most played country record on jukeboxes.

    Hank Williams career was headed down the lost highway in August 1952. His life was spiraling out of control from addiction to alcohol and pain pills causing him to miss shows or to perform poorly on occasions when he did show up. On August 11th the Grand Ole Opry management finally had enough and fired him after he had missed two scheduled performances the previous weekend. As Hank’s life was unraveling a song that he had recorded on June 13, 1952 at Castle Studio in Nashville was released as his new single. In just four weeks the record rose to the top of the Billboard disc jockey survey and during this week in 1952 “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” became Hank Williams seventh number one hit.

    Though Marty Robbins has recorded some of country music’s most memorable classics his chart success was very inconsistent. Number one records were frequently separated by singles that stopped just outside of the top ten or ranked even lower. His 1961 number one hit “Don’t Worry” was followed by “Jimmy Martinez” that peaked at #24. Marty got back on track with the “Don’t Worry” sound-alike song “It’s Your World,” a #3 hit in October 1961. But his first two releases for 1962 both stalled at #12. After the hand clapping, gospel -flavored “Sometimes I’m Tempted” and the pretty love ballad “Love Can’t Wait” both failed to substantially impress his fans, “Devil Woman” put him right back on top. Fifty years ago this week that record began a second week at #1.

    By 1972 Don Gibson had been absent from the #1 position for 14 years. During that period he did register 15 top ten records including the classic songs “Just One Time,” “Sea Of Heartbreak” and “Lonesome Number One.” A move from RCA Victor to Hickory Records in 1970 produced only one significant top five hit, “Country Green,” in 1971. On April 11, 1972 Don recorded a song at Nashville’s Acuff-Rose Sound Studio with a provocative title inspired by the best selling sex manual, “The Sensuous Woman.” Don’s soulful vocal propelled the Gary Paxton song to #1 during the first week of September 1972. It was Don’s final number one record. Mark Chesnutt’s excellent revival of the song in 1994 stalled at #21.

    After Kenny Rogers had completed filming his first movie “Six Pack” he needed a tune for the soundtrack that could also be a released as a single. Nashville songwriters David Malloy and Even Stevens were contracted to create a suitable song. The duo met Kenny on the road at one of his concerts and he shared a portion of a melody that he had created. Malloy and Stevens returned to Nashville and contacted another writer Thom Schuyler to assist them in their task. Schuyler provided the title and thanks to the collaboration of all three the song was quickly completed. “Love Will Turn You Around” was recorded in Los Angeles on May 11, 1982. The song was written and recorded in less than one week. 30 years ago that single became Kenny Rogers’13th number one hit.

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