With his smooth and natural voice, added with a little bit of twang that’s perfect for country songs, it didn’t take long before Johnny Lee’s breakthrough as a major crossover star. His easy-going style helped Johnny Lee songs about love, and honky-tonk life made a mark for being relatable.
Born in Alta Loma, Texas, Johnny Lee spent his early years listening to rock and roll hits. He then went on from being a fan to being a brilliant performer – performing at honky-tonks and recording for different labels.
And today, the veteran hitmaker’s long and accomplished career is still shining more than ever. Let’s take a look at some of his greatest hits.
1. “Lookin’ for Love”
“Lookin’ for Love” was originally released as part of the soundtrack to the romantic Western film Urban Cowboy, starring Travolta and Debra Winger. With the movie’s success, the song became a huge commercial hit for Lee – especially when Travolta revealed it was his favorite song.
It was released once again that same year as the lead single for Lee’s album of the same name.
2. “One in a Million”
“One in a Million” – which expressed a man’s love and appreciation for his woman – is Lee’s second No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, holding the top spot for two weeks. Overall, it spent thirteen weeks on the country chart.
3. “The Yellow Rose”
Lee joined forces with country singer Lane Brody for “Yellow Rose,” which they recorded as the theme song to the NBC nighttime soap of the same name.
4. “Pickin’ Up Strangers”
Lee recorded “Pickin’ Up Strangers” for the romantic comedy film Coast to Coast. It won an ASCAP Award in 1981 for being one of the most performed country songs.
5. “Hey Bartender”
Originally recorded by Floyd Dixon in 1955, Lee made the song a success when he released his version nearly three decades later. It peaked at No. 2 on the country chart in the United States while reaching the top spot of the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.
6. “Prisoner of Hope”
“Prisoner of Hope” was one of the country hits produced by Lee’s RIAA-certified Gold album, Lookin’ for Love.
7. “Country Party”
Four years after stepping out as a solo act, Lee scored minor successes recording “Country Party” – which is a slight re-write of Rick Nelson’s song, Garden Party. It peaked at No. 15 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
8. “Ramblin’ Rose”
A song made famous by Nat King Cole, “Ramblin’ Rose” has been covered by several country music artists – including Lee in 1977. His version reached No. 37 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
9. “Rollin’ Lonely”
This is among the countless songs that pay tribute to the American truck driver. “Rollin’ Lonely” tells the tale of a truck driver who has traveled 400 miles since the break of dawn and is determined to go for another 300 miles just to spend the night with his wife, paying little-to-no heed to the pouring rain and the previous national speed limit of 55 mph.
10. “Bet Your Heart on Me”
Even though Lee’s days on the pop charts ended by 1981, he was still a regular on the country charts. “Bet Your Heart on Me” is Lee’s third No. 1 on the said chart.
11. “Sounds Like Love”
Released as the second single and title track from the album Sounds Like Love, Lee proves that he is still a hitmaker by 1983 – bringing the song to No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
12. “Cherokee Fiddle”
Written and originally recorded by Michael Martin Murphey in 1977, the story of “Cherokee Fiddle” was based on the life of a fiddle player known as “Scooter.”
In 1979, Lee released his version of the song, which was included on Urban Cowboy’s soundtrack album. Two years later, Lee re-released a remixed version as the first single off his album Sounds Like Love. This version peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
13. “Red Sails in the Sunset”
Written by Hugh Williams and prolific songwriter Jimmy Kennedy, “Red Sails in the Sunset” has been covered by countless artists – including Lee, who brought the song to No. 22 on Billboard’s country chart.
14. “When You Fall in Love”
Written by John Scott Sherrill and Steve Earle, “When You Fall in Love” finds Lee singing about the exciting things one would experience when falling in love.
15. “You Could’ve Heard a Heart Break”
This is Lee’s final No. 1 on the country chart – holding the top spot for one week and spending a total of fourteen weeks on the said chart.
More Johnny Lee Songs That Shined Through The Years
Indeed, Johnny Lee’s dynamic presence in country music is beyond compare. Here are some more of his songs that you need to check out.
Surely, these Johnny Lee songs will stand the test of time.