Charlie Rich (December 14, 1932 - July 25, 1995, a.k.a. The Silver Fox) was a country singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous during the 1970s. With his signature smooth and soulful vocals, he is best known for his lushly orchestrated "countrypolitan" hits, but over his nearly four-decade career, he developed an eclectic style that also included elements of such disparate genres as jazz, pop, blues, gospel, rockabilly, and soul.
Born Charles Allan Rich in Colt, Arkansas, he began playing professionally during the early 1950s while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force when he formed a jazz/blues group known as The Velvetones (not to be confused with the Newark, NJ-based doo-wop group). In 1956, after his military stint was complete, he began performing in the Memphis area, playing both jazz and R&B, and also began writing his own songs. He signed on with Sun Records in 1958 as a session musician and staff writer, performing alongside and writing songs for such top artists as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bill Justis.
Rich made his debut on the Pop/Rock charts in 1960 with "Lonely Weekends," which became a Top 40 hit. This was followed by several minor pop hits before he had another Top 40 hit in 1965 with the R&B-infused novelty song, "Mohair Sam." He made his Country charts debut in 1968 with "Set Me Free," which was followed by a long string of hits through 1981.
Rich's major breakthrough came in 1973 with two smash hits: the heartwarming country ballad, "The Most Beautiful Girl," and the salacious yet sophisticated "Behind Closed Doors." "The Most Beautiful Girl" is one of only a limited number of songs in pop music history to have topped all three major Billboard charts (i.e., Hot 100, Country, and Adult Contemporary). "Behind Closed Doors" won awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music and also earned Rich a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Several more Country chart toppers followed in 1974, many of which also made the Pop/Rock Top 40: "There Won't Be Anymore," "A Very Special Love Song," "I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore," "I Love My Friend," and "She Called Me Baby." Rich later also topped the Country charts with "Rollin' With The Flow" (1977) and "On My Knees" (1978). Other hits included "Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)" (1975) and Rich's cover of the Lenny Welch 1963 classic, "Since I Fell For You" (1976).
Rich's many awards and accolades included a Grammy and numerous honors from the Academy of Country Music, the American Music Awards, and the Country Music Association. He was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015. His final album, "Pictures And Painting," was released in 1992 to critical acclaim.
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- Behind Closed Doors 1973
- I Love My Friend 1974
- Lonely Weekends 1960
- Mohair Sam 1965
- The Most Beautiful Girl 1973
- There Won't Be Anymore 1974
- A Very Special Love Song 1974
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