My Kind of Country

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

Classic Rewind: Helen Cornelius – ‘It Started With A Smile’

5 responses to “Classic Rewind: Helen Cornelius – ‘It Started With A Smile’

  1. Ken November 30, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Though she earned great success as Jim Ed Brown’s duet partner, Helen Cornelius could not score a hit as a solo performer. This late 1979 RCA single never climbed higher than #68 even though the record was not competing for chart position with one of her duets at that time. To be fair Jim Ed Brown did not have any solo hits during their “duet years” either. Helen was very “radio friendly” and her track record with duets made her a familiar name to country listeners so I believe that weak songs were the ultimate cause. She did not lack vocal ability and was a most attractive and sweet lady.

  2. luckyoldsun November 30, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I’m not familiar with Helen Cornelius’s work, but off of this video, I’d say that a big reason that she didn’t hit on country radio is that she was trying to be a pop singer. There is simply nothing country about his performance. The song, the arrangement, the vocal, the way she’s dressed it’s all pop–and rather dated pop, at that. And the singer shows absolutely no “attitude”. It’s just pure sweetness. All of the top women country singers of the time–Tammy, Loretta, Dolly, Dotty, Donna, Crystal–showed “attitude” and emotion.

    • Ken November 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      “I’m not familiar with Helen Cornelius’s work…”

      Really? Then perhaps you should have quit right there. OF COURSE she was singing in a pop style – that is what female country singers of that era (late 1970’s) were singing and scoring hits with. Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrell Donna Fargo, Margo Smith, Tanya Tucker, Lynn Anderson, Anne Murray & Dolly Parton were ALL releasing pop-sounding records. Some of them became huge crossover hits. To fault Helen for recording a POP sounding song at that time demonstrates a total lack of knowledge of country music during that period. And by the way – by the late 1970’s female country singers were no longer wearing frilly dresses and petticoats either. Helen was dressed in the style of that time.

      To judge Helen from hearing this ONE song is ludicrous. She had 11 records with Jim Ed Brown that peaked at #13 or higher so she must have the ability to put SOME emotion into her performances or audiences would not have purchased those records or requested them on the radio. “I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You” was one of the biggest duet hits of the 1970’s. Pretty amazing accomplishment for a singer that could not project any “attitude” or “emotion.”

      • luckyoldsun November 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm

        Look, I came right out front and said I’m no expert in Helen Cornelius’s music–So what are you upset about.
        I didn’t “fault” her for singing pop. I just gave my opinion that this song as nothing country about it whatsoever–and that’s probably a reason that country radio didn’t pick it up.
        The genre that she’s going for here seems to be maybe Melissa Manchester of “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” or Sheena Easton–but she’s just nowhere near their league as a vocalist.
        And most of the other ladies you mention–at least Crystal, Gayle, Donna Fargo, Tanya, Barbara and Dolly–mixed country and pop stylings, but they were all great singers–their songs stick with you after you hear them. This “It Started With a Smile” performance is just maple syrup. Except it doesn’t stick.

        • Ken December 1, 2014 at 5:28 am

          I’m not upset at all. Your comments were wrong as usual and I called you out. My work is done here.

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