Charlie Rich was a star in the ’70s. He released songs that topped both the country and pop charts. Rich was an amazing singer and musician. However, he struggled before he became famous, and the spotlight quickly died down on him. It’s sad that he didn’t stay long enough into the scene because he would have released more hit songs and made us fall in love with his music.
Today, we remember his two hit singles as we celebrated what would have been his eighty-sixth birthday.
Rich was born on December 14, 1932, in Colt, Arkansas. His love of music was influenced by his parents who were both a musician. His mother played the piano while his father sang. Rich’s first love of music was towards blues and jazz music. It was shared to him by C.J. Allen.
When Rich began his career, he was rejected by Sam Phillips at first. After learning how to perform songs like Jerry Lee Lewis, he landed a job in Sun Records. In 1960, the first single he released was known as “Lonely Weekends.” The song entered Billboard Hot 100 at number twenty-two. Rich moved from one record label to another until he finally found a place where he would have his first number one song.
In the late ’60s, Rich was signed under the Epic Records. He wasn’t successful after all the release of his single, but thanks to Billy Sherrill, Rich still signed a deal. He didn't achieve success immediately. In 1972, he finally scored his first top 10 on the country chart (“I Take It on Home”). After that, he began releasing singles that have topped the chart.
Rich earned his very first number-one song on the country chart with his single “Behind Closed Doors.” In addition, it entered numerous charts in the US, Canada, and the UK. His single sold two million copies. Therefore, it was Platinum-certified by RIAA.
Kenny O’Dell was asked by Rich’s producer to write him a song. What came next is a massive hit for Rich and the songwriter. O’Dell won the CMA and ACM award for Song of the Year. Meanwhile, Charlie Rich brought home the ACM and CMA Single of the Year. In addition, Rich won the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
Other than his first hit “Behind Closed Doors,” Rich followed it with “The Most Beautiful Girl.” His single was a chart-topper on most charts in the US and Canada. He earned his second number one on the country chart with this song.
Norro Wilson, Billy Sherrill, and Rory Bourke wrote the song in 1973. Rich won Favorite Country Single in the American Music Award. The song was first recorded by the songwriter Norro Wilson under a different title (“Hey Mister”).
Those are two of the songs associated with Charlie Rich. He has released many songs, and it entered the charts, but “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl” were his best recordings.