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      Charlie Rich

      Charlie Rich

      Highest Rated: 71% Weeds (1987)

      Lowest Rated: 71% Weeds (1987)

      Birthday: Dec 14, 1932

      Birthplace: Colt, Arkansas, USA

      Known as the "Silver Fox," Charlie Rich was a pioneer in pop-country crossover and scored wildly different hit records in different decades. Raised by cotton farmers in Colt, Arkansas, he learned piano and sax as a child but attended college and joined the Air Force before playing professionally. He auditioned for Sun Records in 1958 and initially didn't pass as an artist, but was employed to play piano and guitar on records by Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and other Sun artists. His own first hit was 1960's "Lonely Weekend," a Presley-styled song that became a minor rock & roll classic-- covered by the Everly Brothers in the '60s, Tom Petty in the '80s and Kacey Musgraves in the 2010s, among others. He continued bouncing between labels and styles, cutting the hit rock & roll novelty "Mohair Sam" for Smash in 1965, then moving to Memphis' Hi label where he fused country and soul. But his greatest success came after moving to Epic in 1967. Working with producer Billy Sherrill, Rich exemplified the smoothly produced "countrypolitan" sound coming out of Nashville at the time. An ode to fidelity, "I Take It On Home" began a hit streak in 1972 that continued with "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl," the latter crossing over to top the pop charts. For the next two years he was one of the most successful pop/country artists, scoring further hits on both charts with "There Won't Be Anymore" and "I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore." However, Rich's propensity for drinking got in the way of his career. He turned up drunk for live shows and in 1975 stumbled through a Country Music Association awards show, where he torched an award winner's name with his cigarette lighter before announcing the winner was John Denver. He'd later claim it was just a joke, but the association thought he was slamming Denver and banned him afterward; he never won another major award in his lifetime. The hits gradually trailed off but didn't stop altogether; 1981's "Are We Dreamin' the Same Dream" continued with his '70s style and marked his last Top 40 hit. Rich also appeared that year in the movie "Take This Job and Shove It" (1981), based on Johnny Paycheck's hit. He went into retirement afterward, only emerging once in 1992 with his final album, Pictures & Paintings. This contained his last classic track, "Feel Like Going Home," a soulful remake of a song he'd originally cut for Epic two decades earlier. Rich died in July 1995 after driving to Natchez, MS to see his son Allan perform. A tribute album, Feel Like Going Home appeared in 2016 and featured Jim Lauderdale, Shooter Jennings and other alternative country mainstays.

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      71% 55% Weeds Self $1.5M 1987