My Kind of Country

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

Classic Rewind – Brenda Lee – ‘Too Many Rivers’

One of Lee’s many classics, she recorded “Too Many Rivers” with Owen Bradley for Columbia Records in Jan 1964. The B Side of her single “No One,” radio favored this Harlan Howard penned tune to the official single and played it instead.  Lee would have a #13 peaking it with the tune. The Forester Sisters would take the tune up the charts again 22 years later where it would peak at #5.  Many other versions from the likes of Claude Gray, Eddy Arnold, Liz Anderson, Jean Shepherd, and a host of others exist as well.

One response to “Classic Rewind – Brenda Lee – ‘Too Many Rivers’

  1. Ken March 11, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Nice pick Jonathan – one of Brenda’s finest performances. To be clear this great song peaked at #13 on the BIllboard POP survey. Her version did not appear for even a single week on the country chart! Though hard to fathom today back in 1965 Brenda was considered a “pop/rock & roll singer” so for the most part country radio stations did not play her recordings. This despite the fact that the legendary Owen Bradley was her producer and most of her recordings were made in Nashville with the same “A” list pickers featured on many country hits. Because Brenda’s contract was attached to the Decca pop division her records were not specifically promoted to country radio stations. Her country breakthrough finally came in 1969 after her pop success had waned considerably. “Johnny One Time” became her second country chart record peaking at #50. [She previously charted for just one week in early 1957 when “One Step At A Time” spent a lone week at #15] Subsequent singles grazed the bottom rungs of the country chart until 1973 when Kris Kristofferson’s “Nobody Wins” gave her a top 5 country single and started a string of “country only” hits through the mid-70’s

    Gotta say that Brenda’s early hits like “Fool #1,” Break It To Me Gently,” “All Alone Am I.” “As Usual” and her classic “I’m Sorry” all sound really country to me.

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