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December 15

“Behind Closed Doors” Is The Keystone to Charlie Rich’s Incredible Success

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When Charlie Rich issued out a few handfuls of songs, and none achieved much success, he made a bold move to rework his image into a Nashville Sound ballad singer. And it totally paid off when the song “Behind Closed Doors” landed in the No. 1 chart position.

Released as a single from his 1973 album of the same name, the song was Pride’s first No. 1 hit on the country charts, where it spent a total of twenty weeks. It was also a crossover hit on the pop charts – peaking at No. 15 on Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 on Billboard Adult Contemporary.

It also snagged the top spot on the Country Tracks chart and peaked at No. 5 on Top Singles in Canada.

The Interesting Inspiration of “Behind Closed Doors”

Written by country music singer and songwriter Kenny O’Dell, “Behind Closed Doors” was inspired by the Watergate scandal. O’Dell was stirred by how the Congressional Committee, who was investigating Watergate at the time, had a number of non-public sessions. 

“Because they’re always talking about no one know what goes on behind closed doors. Having the sessions, another session, behind closed doors. And I’m thinking, I like the title, ‘Behind Closed Doors,'” he said.

However, the song did not sit well – with some radio stations originally banning the record for being too racy for their listeners. 

Still, “Behind Closed Doors” helped Rich win a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. O’Dell also earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. He was also given the award for Single of the Year and Song of the Year from both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards.

“‘Cause people like to talk. Lord, don’t they love to talk. But when they turn out the lights, I know she’ll be leavin’ with me. And when we get behind closed doors, then she lets her hair hang down, and she makes me glad that I’m a man. Oh, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors,” the song goes. 

Several artists have since recorded the song, including Perry Como, Ronnie Milsap, Tom Jones, and Percy Sledge. In addition, Diana Ross, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton have all recorded versions in which the genders were reversed.

Rich’s son, Charlie Rich Jr., has also often performed the song, such as when he appeared as part of the special Country’s Family Reunion Second Generations. Sitting on a gloss black grand piano, he crooned his father’s beloved first No. 1 hit in front of viewers and the entire room full of colleagues. You can really tell that the younger Rich got some impressive skills from his father. There was definitely no shortage of talent running in this family!

Anyway, tune in and watch one of the most incredible performances of Charlie Rich singing “Behind Closed Doors.”


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