Friday, July 06, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Charlie Rich

Artist:Charlie Rich
Song:The Most Beautiful Girl
Album:16 Biggest Hits

Charlie Rich was a very versatile singer who had his biggest success in the 70s working with legendary producer Billy Sherrill at Epic Records. Rich had nine number one country hits but The Most Beautiful Girl was his only number one pop hit in 1973. He was born Dec. 14, 1932 in Colt, AR and grew up in Benton, AR. He got into music when he was in the US Air Force with the jazz group The Velvetones. When he was discharged, he hung around Memphis which inevitably led to Sun Records. Sun owner Sam Phillips didn't think Rich's demos were commercial enough. So he played sessions while trying to figure out how to make it himself. In the 60s, Rich recorded for Sun, RCA, Smash and Hi Records. Though some of his recordings are well regarded today,they were unsuccessful at the time. Rich signed with Epic in 1967 on the recommendation of house producer Billy Sherrill. Sherrill was best known for producing Tammy Wynette. He usually mixed country with pop. At the time it was called Countrypolitan. Rich was perfect for that sound. The single Behind Closed Doors was Rich's first number one country single in 1973 and it reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Most Beautiful Girl did even better and topped the Country Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100. The album Behind Closed Doors was also a hit and was certified 4XPlatinum. The Most Beautiful Girl was written by veteran songwriters Norro Wilson and Rory Bourke. Wilson recorded himself in the late 60s and Bourke was managing him. Bourke came up with the title Hey, Have You Ever Seen The Most Beautiful Girl In The World and Wilson wrote the song in ten minutes. They took the song to Sherrill who got a songwriting credit for shortening the title. Wilson and Bourke are both in the Country Music Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Rich's continued success in the country market was affected by his heavy drinking. He was presenting a 1975 CMA award to John Denver while intoxicated. Instead of reading the contents of the envelope, he set it on fire because he didn't think Denver was a country artist. Nashville did not approve. Rich went into a slump. And though he had some success recording for Epic, United Artists and Elektra, he went into semi-retirement in 1981. After recording a jazz record for Sire Records in 1992, Charlie Rich died on July 25, 1995 at age 62. This budget comp is a good intro to his Epic recordings. Here's Charlie Rich performing The Most Beautiful Girl on In Concert 1975.

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