My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 2/20/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

hqdefault-51956 (Sales): Sixteen Tons — Tennessee Ernie Ford (Capitol)

1956 (Jukebox): Sixteen Tons — Tennessee Ernie Ford (Capitol)

1956 (Disc Jockeys): Why Baby Why — Red Sovine & Webb Pierce (Decca)

1966: Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line/In The Palm of Your Hands — Buck Owens & The Buckaroos (Capitol)

1976: The White Knight — Cledus Maggard & The Citzen’s Band (Mercury)

1986: Makin’ Up For Lost Time — Gary Morris with Crystal Gayle (Warner Bros.)

1996: Bigger Than The Beatles — Joe Diffie (Epic)

2006: Jesus, Take The Wheel — Carrie Underwood (Arista)

2016: Die a Happy Man — Thomas Rhett (Valory)

2016 (Airplay): Home Alone Tonight — Luke Bryan feat. Karen Fairchild (Capitol)

8 responses to “Week ending 2/20/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Occasional Hope February 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

    1976’s offering is bizarre.

    • luckyoldsun February 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

      A lot of weird stuff here. The ’66 song is from the period where country songs joked about “welfare.” (Nixon actually asked Johnny Cash to sing something called “Welfare Cadillac” at the White House–Cash declined.) The ’76 song looks like an effort (apparently successful!) to glom onto the C.W. McCall “Convoy” craze. The ’96 entry is actually something of a Beatles tribute–though I think that Joe Diffie coming out with a song titled “Bigger than the Beatles” struck a lot of rock and pop listeners as delusional–if not sacrilege.

      • Ken February 21, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        If you carefully examine the country charts you will discover that there truly was no “period when country songs joked about welfare.” Two songs – one from 1966 and another from 1970 that have “welfare” in the title does not constitute a trend. If you were at all familiar with the lyrics of that Buck Owens hit you would know that the song did not actually joke about the welfare program. That word was used in the context of describing how a poor down-on-his-luck guy hungry for attention from the object of his affection felt like he was waiting in her welfare line. Sorry but there’s no political commentary there.

        The second song “Welfare Cadilac” (spelled with one “L” to avoid litigation from General Motors) did indeed skewer the welfare system. Performed by Guy Drake that record became a #6 country hit in early 1970. Around the time that song was in the charts Johnny Cash was scheduled to perform a White House concert. However Nixon himself never requested that Johnny Cash perform the song as Nixon was not a country music fan and was generally unfamiliar with country songs. Rather it was someone on the President’s staff that had sent a list of three requested songs to Cash’s office – “A Boy Named Sue,” “Okie From Muskogee” and “Welfare Cadilac.” Cash declined the second two because they were not part of his regular repertoire. The press picked up the story and it became a news items for a few days so much so that Nixon joked about it when he introduced Cash at the White House show on April 17.

        Also if you researched country music circa 1975-76 you would find dozens of songs about truck driving and C.B. radios. A few of the songs became hits, most did not.

    • Razor X February 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      The 1976 offering is just awful. I had never heard it before. I played it last night and wondered how it ever got to #1.

      • Ken February 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        You kinda had to be there. The CB radio infatuation was so huge & pervasive that almost anything connected to it was extremely well received. When the fad ended a couple of years later so did airplay for the most part except for the all-night trucker shows. However I will say the concept was very clever and the production values were quite high for that era. This was created long before digital editing was available.

  2. Paul W Dennis February 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    “Bigger Than The Beatles” was not about the Beatles and was not a tribute song. The song was about love between a cocktail waitress and a lounge singer.

    The title could have been “Bigger Than … (1) Bing Crosby, the biggest singing star ever, (2) Al Jolson, (3) Caruso, (4) The Rolling Stones, King Kong or Godzilla or etc” and not changed the meaning of the song. The reference to the Beatles was because the Beatles were in recent memory and made a better rhyme than Rolling Stones, plus ‘yeah yeah yeah’ fit well. It was a good song

    “White Knight” occurred during the CB radio craze. At no other time could it have been a hit. It was bizarre, but if you think it was weird you should have heard Rod Hart’s “C. B. Savage”, a #23 record in 1977.

    By the way, “Welfare Cadillac” was an amusing song, and in its time, much more accurate than it would be today. It got to #1 on Cashbox, #4 on Record World, and #6 on Billboard despite being on a small label without much distribution. It also received pop airplay, reaching #63 on Billboard.

    • luckyoldsun February 21, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      I would characterize “Bigger than the Beatles” as “something of a tribute.” I’ll leave it to other people who are familiar with–or listen to–the song to opine.

  3. Ken February 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    During Billboard Magazine’s chart history rules have changed regarding two-sided hit singles. At times both songs shared the same chart position while at other times each song would chart independently. During 1966 songs charted independently so “In The Palm Of Your Hand” never shared the #1 slot with “Waitin’ In Your Welfare Line.” “In The Palm Of Your Hand” charted for just two weeks – on 2/26/66 at #44 and 3/5/66 at #43. Buck recorded a new version of “In The Palm Of Your Hand” in 1972 and released it as single late that year. That version climbed to #23 in early 1973.

    “The White Knight” was spawned by the CB radio craze of 1975-76. Cledus Maggard was a pseudonym for Jay Huguely who created the song while working at a South Carolina advertising agency. Huguely pitched the song for a Sears ad campaign but when the retail giant declined Huguely released the song on a record. Mercury Records picked up the master tape for national distribution. The version that hit #1 clocked in at 4:04. An extended version released as the “B” side of the original Mercury single ran for an additional three minutes. The 7:12 side became a favorite of all-night DJ’s that needed a bathroom break!

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