Willie Nelson has been producing countless high-quality country music that fans and critics have warmly received. But none could possibly ever amount to the legendary country artist’s first number one song, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
In 1975, Nelson first made waves and dominated the Billboard country chart with this beautiful and soulful melody. In the past, Willie Nelson had a dose of number one hits for songs that he wrote but did not perform. He has written hit songs for fellow country singers like Pretty Paper for Roy Orbison, Crazy for Patsy Cline, and Funny How Time Slips Away for Billy Walker. This time, however, his road to the number one spot was brought by a song that he did not compose.
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain was written by Fred Rose. Before Nelson recorded the song as part of his 1975 album, Red-Headed Stranger, it was originally performed by Roy Acuff and had numerous covers by renowned artists like Charlie Pride and Hank Williams. But it was Nelson’s version that turned the track into a very iconic and breakthrough musical piece for the singer.
Willie Nelson interpreted the lyrics by portraying a fugitive preacher on the run and hiding from the law after he killed his wife. His take was a standout, and Bill Malone, a music historian, described the music as “a fine example of clean, uncluttered country music”. Rolling Stone adds that Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain served as the heart of Red Headed Stranger.
In 1986, a music video was created for the song, in line with the promotion of the album’s motion picture adaptation. Among the awards garnered by Willie Nelson through Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain include being hailed as the 3rd biggest song of 1975 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, snagging the 21st spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as garnering constant airplay on the Top 40 radio.
There is no doubt that Willie Nelson has the power to create such beautiful magic with his innate melodic gift.
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