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February 27

The “Guy” Behind “Heartbroke” and Many Other Hits: Guy Clark

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“Heartbroke” is a song that Guy Clark composed. The first to record the said track was Rodney Crowell on his 1980 album But What Will the Neighbors Think. Later in 1981, Guy Clark made his own version of his composition in his album The South Coast of Texas.

The Many Artists with their Guy Clark Hits

Through Guy Clark’s lyricism, several artists have charted with tunes Clark penned. In the year 1982, Bobby Bare made it to the Country Top Twenty with Clark’s “New Cut Road”.

That same year, bluegrass leader Ricky Skaggs made a chart-topper with Heartbroke”—another Clark song. This was the song that gave Clark his breakthrough as it permanently established his reputation as an ingenious songwriter. Released in July 1982, it was the first single from the album Highways & Heartaches. “Heartbroke” was Ricky Skaggs’ third single to hit the top spot on the country chart. For a week, his hit ruled the charts. All in all, it was on the country charts for a total of eleven weeks.

Sometime in 1980, Skaggs launched his own career in the country music industry. He achieved 12 number 1 hits, and 8 CMA and ACM awards respectively. Two years after, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ricky Skaggs was the youngest inductee at that time. Guitarist and producer Chet Atkins recognized Skaggs’s efforts in “single-handedly” saving country music.

George Strait, on the other hand, debuted a cover of “Heartbroke” on his second album Strait from the Heart in 1982. He was not aware that Skaggs released his own version about two weeks earlier. Finally, The Marshall Tucker Band also launched theirs on their 1982 album Tuckerized.

To name the artists that covered Guy Clark’s songs, here they are:

  1. Vince Gill brought “Oklahoma Borderline” to the Top Ten in 1985.
  2. The Highwaymen introduced “Desperados Waiting for a Train” to a new generation in the same year.
  3. John Conlee made his own interpretation of “The Carpenter” and rode it into the Top Ten in 1987.

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