Friday, March 13, 2009

Country with staying power

It's hard to imagine, but there was year when only five songs occupied the No. 1 spot on the Billboard country charts. That year was 1960, and it seems like ... well, I hope you don't expect ME to remember.

Marty Robbins actually got the ball rolling before Christmas of '59 when "El Paso'' took over the top spot and stayed there seven weeks.

Then, amazingly, two back-to-back songs reached No. 1 for 14 consecutive weeks. Jim Reeves was first with "He'll Have to Go'' and Hank Locklin followed with "Please Help Me I'm Falling.''

The other No. 1s included "Alabam'' by Cowboy Copas (12 weeks) and "Wings of a Dove'' by Ferlin Husky (10 weeks).

Were the songs that good to dominate for so long, or was country going through some lean times? I can't even seem to recall "Alabam'' but I consider the other four classics. Two of them made CMT's 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music: "El Paso" (No. 42) and "He'll Have to Go'' (No. 90).

By comparison, the song designated as the greatest ever by CMT, Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man'' was No. 1 for only three weeks in 1968 (before being bumped by Sonny James' "Born To Be With You").

This information and $3 will get you a beer at Robert's Western World, where nobody covers "El Paso'' as well as Brazil Billy.

1 comment:

  1. The great Hank Garland played on many of those Marty Robbins records.