Week ending 4/28/18: #1 singles this week in country music history
1958 (Sales): Oh Lonesome Me / I Can’t Stop Loving You — Don Gibson (RCA Victor)
1958 (Disk Jockeys): Oh Lonesome Me — Don Gibson (RCA Victor)
1968: The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde — Merle Haggard (Capitol)
1978: Every Time Two Fools Collide — Kenny Rogers & Dottie West (United Artists)
1988: I’ll Always Come Back — KT Oslin (RCA)
1998: Bye, Bye — Jo Dee Messina (Curb)
2008: You’re Gonna Miss This — Trace Adkins (Capitol Nashville)
2018: Meant To Be — Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line (Big Machine)
2018 (Airplay): Meant To Be — Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line (Big Machine)
According to his wife Bonnie Owens after multiple viewings of the “Bonnie & Clyde” movie Merle Haggard was so enamored of their story that he composed a song about the infamous duo. The original studio recording included Glen Campbell on the session who can be heard singing harmony with Bonnie. That single topped the Billboard chart 50 years ago this week.
Although it went unnoticed at first, the B side of that single, also written by Merle, “I Started Loving You Again” eventually became better known than the “hit” side. As the record appeared in jukeboxes the B side slowly became popular and elicited requests from radio listeners. But that song did not make a significant impact while the A side was enjoying peak popularity. “I Started Loving You Again” failed to chart in Billboard but as “Bonnie & Clyde” was descending the Cashbox country chart at #40 in mid-June, “I Started Loving You Again” debuted on it’s own at #47. During a seven week chart run in the summer of 1968 it peaked at #22.
Merle re-recorded the song on his 1970 live album “The Fightin’ Side Of Me” adding the word “Today” to the title. The original studio version was later included on the 1972 album “The Best Of The Best Of Merle Haggard” which added to the song’s profile. However “The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde” was excluded from that collection and never appeared on a domestic Merle Haggard “hit” compilation until the CD era.
Here’s the original studio recording of “I Started Loving You Again.” It remained on the set list for Merle’s concerts until the very end: