1. HAPPY 27TH ANNIVERSARY REBA: It has been about five and a half years since ANYONE could say the following, but: Reba McEntire has the #1 song in America with Consider Me Gone. The last time she had a #1 hit was in the summer of 2004 when she interrupted Tim McGraw's reign of Live Like You Were Dying (the year's biggest hit) with Somebody off her Room To Breathe CD. That ended a six year drought of #1s when If You See Him/If You See Her with Brooks & Dunn hit #1 in 1998.
About the title of this article, McEntire lands her 24th #1 exactly 27 years after her first, Can't Even Get The Blues in 1983. That is in the top five of those with the greatest spans of #1 hits:
1. 35 years-Dolly Parton-Joshua in 1971 to When I Get Where I'm Going with Brad Paisley in 2006.
2. 29 years-Johnny Cash-I Walk The Line in 1956 to Highwayman with Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson in 1985.
3. 27 years, 9 months-Willie Nelson-Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain in 1975 to Beer For My Horses with Toby Keith in 2003.
4. 27 years-Reba McEntire-Can't Even Get The Blues in 1983 to Consider Me Gone in 2010.
5. 26 years, 7 months-George Strait-Fool Hearted Memory in 1982 to River Of Love in 2009.
McEntire becomes the third chart topping artist on the Valory label (her home since 2008). She follows:
1. Jimmy Wayne-Do You Believe Me Now-2008
2. Justin Moore-Small Town U.S.A.-2009
3. Reba McEntire-Consider Me Gone-2010
McEntire also scores a #1 hit for her third record label. Her breakdown:
McEntire becomes the fourth artist to score #1 country hits in four consecutive decades. The others:
1. George Jones-1950s-1 #1 hit, 1960s-3, 1970s-5, and 1980s-4
2. Johnny Cash-1950s-5 #1 hits, 1960s-5, 1970s-3, and 1980s-1
3. Dolly Parton-1970s-11 #1 hits, 1980s-12, 1990s-1, and 2000s-1
4. Reba McEntire-1980s-14 #1 hits, 1990s-8, 2000s-1, and 2010s-1 (more we hope!)
This is the first time in about four and a half years that a solo female #1 was NOT scored by either Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift. Sara Evans topped the charts in 2005 with A Real Fine Place To Start.
2010 marks the 35th anniversary of McEntire signing with Mercury Records. All of this success for McEntire: PRICELESS! It is well deserved!
2. A CAPITOL GATHERING: Capitol Records has three artists at the #2-#4 positions:
#2-Lady Antebellum-Need You Now
#3-Luke Bryan-Do I
#4-Dierks Bentley-I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes
3. THE THIRD WEEK OF CHRISTMAS: Gretchen Wilson has the sole new Christmas song debuting this week with I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas at #54. She is also at #49 with Work Hard, Play Harder.
4. THE TOP SELLERS: These were the top selling CDs in 2004, 1999, 1994, 1989, and 1984:
2004: Greatest Hits-Shania Twain-Mercury
1999: Come On Over-Shania Twain-Mercury
1994: The Hits-Garth Brooks-Capitol
1989: No Holdin' Back-Randy Travis-Warner Bros.
1984: Kentucky Hearts-Exile-Epic
5. MILESTONE TOP TEN CHART: I finally get to salute the artist who turned me on to country music: Marty Robbins. My first memories of listening to country music was listening to an eight track of his greatest hits (how many songs were on that anyway?). You have to admit he had a set of pipes and could sing ANYTHING! His masterpiece performance, El Paso was our #1 hit 50 years ago this week.
In 1952, Robbins signed with Columbia Records and though his first two single releases did not chart, his third I'll Go On Alone did hit #1 in January, 1953. His second #1 hit, Singing The Blues became his biggest hit in 1956, staying at the top of the charts for thirteen weeks and even crossing over to #17 on the pop charts. This was during his crossover era from 1956-1962. A competing version by Guy Mitchell was #1 on the pop charts for nine weeks. Undeterred and wanting a pop hit all to himself, Robbins collected his third #1 hit in 1957 with the perfect prom song: A White Sport Coat And A Pink Carnation. This time he went to #2 on the pop charts. He managed two more chart topping hits, both in 1958: The Story Of My Life and Just Married.
Then his singing cowboy era started in 1959 with The Hanging Tree (#15). Sensing a trend, he decided to write a tragic love story (the ultimate oxymoron if you were to ask me) about two men competing 'in love of a Mexican girl', Faleena and El Paso was born. It starts with one man killing the other for her love and escaping certain consequences. Then the killer misses her so much he returns to her, even if it means certain death. He did manage 'one little kiss' and told 'Faleena goodbye'. Robbins' backup singers were Tompall and the Glaser Brothers. This time, he enjoyed a double #1 hit on both country and pop charts. It was #1 on the country charts for seven weeks between December, 1959 to January, 1960. It was the first #1 pop hit in 1960 for two weeks. It became the longest song to date topping both charts at 4 minutes, 40 seconds. The second single from the Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs album, Big Iron made #5 in 1960. In the meantime, El Paso won the first Grammy Award for Best Country and Western Performance. His next #1 hit, Don't Worry became his second biggest hit being #1 for ten weeks in 1961 and claiming the #3 position on the pop charts. He would hit #1 six more times during the 1960s. Those hits were:
1. Devil Woman-1962
2. Ruby Ann-1963
3. Begging To You-1964
4. Ribbon Of Darkness-1965
5. Tonight Carmen-1967
6. I Walk ALone-1968
Then in 1969, he suffered the first of three heart attacks. It showed that 75% of his arteries were almost completely blocked. In 1970, he underwent open heart surgery and two months later, performed on the Grand Ole Opry (where he was a member since 1953). Two months later, he collected his 14th #1 hit, the Grammy Award winning My Woman, My Woman, My Wife. While he was charting with that song, he became the first recipient of the A.C.M. Artist of the Decade.
He made a short term move to MCA Records where Walking Piece Of Heaven became his biggest hit there (#6 in 1973). In the meantime, he was the last performer at the original Opry in 1974 and was the first at the new Opry.
He returned to Columbia Records during the bicentennial year were his 'comeback single', the sequel to El Paso, El Paso City was his 15th #1 hit. His last #1, Among My Souvenirs was a song he did not like at first (by the way, Connie Francis was in the pop top ten with her version at the same time El Paso was in that section of the chart). It was #1 in 1976.
Several pivotal events happened to Robbins during the 1980s. In 1981, he suffered his second heart attack and landed his first top ten hit in four years with Some Memories Just Won't Die (#10 in 1982). In October, 1982 Robbins was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In December, 1982 he suffered his third heart attack and died a week later. A Clint Eastwood film called Honkytonk Man was released with Robbins singing the title track (#10 in 1983).
You can certainly say that country music (and music in general) lost a TRUE original. When you listen to his ENTIRE catalog, you realize that NO ONE can touch his diversity of songs. This is what the chart looked like back then:
BILLBOARD TOP TEN FOR WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 21, 1959:
1. EL PASO-MARTY ROBBINS-COLUMBIA
2. The Same Old Me-Ray Price-Columbia
3. There's A Big Wheel-Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper-Hickory
4. Country Girl-Faron Young-Capitol
5. Under Your Spell Again-Ray Price-Columbia
6. The Last Ride-Hank Snow-RCA
7. Amigo's Guitar-Kitty Wells-Decca
8. Under Your Spell Again-Buck Owens-Capitol
9. He'll Have To Go-Jim Reeves-RCA
10. Scarlet Ribbons For Her Hair-The Browns-RCA
Merry Christmas from all of here at Country ChartBeat!
If you think we have not been trapping, you have not been looking!