In the early 1970s, Charlie Rich recorded the song “The Most Beautiful Girl”. But before this, Bill Sherrill, Norris Wilson, and Rory Bourke composed the said track. The country and western ballad fusion reached number 1 in the United States in 1973 on three Billboard music charts. For two weeks, it dominated the pop chart. During the same year, it was the country chart’s number one for three weeks. Then, it reigned in the adult contemporary chart for three weeks. Its popularity did not stop there. In Canada, it became part of the hit list: the 100 Top Singles, Country Tracks, and Adult Contemporary—three RPM charts. Lastly, in 1974, Billboard ranked it as the 23rd song.
Back in 1968, co-writer Wilson was the original artist for the song. However, “Hey Mister” was its title. In addition, the song also uses a part of “Mama McCluskie”, which Wilson also penned.
As a B-side, Rich made “I Feel Like Going Home”. Later in 1974, Rita made a cover of it and released it on her Fall into Spring album. British pop singer Engelbert Humperdinck included “The Most Beautiful Girl” on his 1973 album Engelbert: King of Hearts.
“The Most Beautiful Girl” Fever
Due to its popularity, “The Most Beautiful Girl” had several renditions. One is by Slim Whitman in the 1970s. In 1974, Andy Williams released her own version of his album The Way We Were. A year later, ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad recorded a Swedish-language version called “Vill du låna en man?” on her solo album Frida Ensam. Its Swedish lyrics were by Stig Anderson. Two years later, Sergio Franchi recorded the song on his DynaHouse album 20 Magnificent Songs. Last but not the least, Country music boy band South 65 recorded an updated version of the song in 2001 for their album Dream Large.
In addition to those covers, the song received a very brief exposure by Brenda Fricker in the film So I Married an Axe Murderer. On December 16, 1992, Jason Alexander also offered a rendition of his character George Costanza. This was for the episode of the sitcom Seinfeld entitled The Pick, where he mourned the loss of his girlfriend, Susan.
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