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December 6

“Old School” Romance by John Conlee

Nowadays, the ‘old school’ romance is almost forgotten as the ‘hookup culture’ is in trend. Remembering the days when people dated seriously is hard to remember. From one night stands to casual flings, hooking up has pretty much become the norm. It is not that having a good time is all wrong, but we all long for that ‘old school’ romance and that love that lasts forever.

“Old School” composed by Russell Smith and Don Schlitz, Country Music Hall of Famer, was recorded by John Conlee. The American country music artist released the track in October 1985 as the first new single from his Greatest Hits 2 album. After its release, it occupied the 5th spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Because of Conlee’s superb taste in material and his distinctively melancholy voice, he was a real talent. Moreover, he is considered as one of the most respected vocalists to emerge during the urban cowboy era.

John Conlee’s Background

On a tobacco farm in Versailles, Kentucky in 1946, a guy named John Conlee was born. At the age of 10, he took up the guitar—performing on local radio. As he was growing up, he went on to sing with the town barbershop chorus. At the beginning, he did not pursue music as a career. Instead, he became a licensed mortician.

To add, Conlee worked as a disc jockey for several area radio stations. When he moved to Nashville in 1971, he made important industry connections there. After five years, Conlee’s demo tape reached ABC getting himself a contract. Though he released a few singles, he did not find acceptance until 1978. This was the time when he recorded “Rose Colored Glasses”, a song he had co-written with a newsman at his radio station. This track rocketed into the country Top Five.

Conlee spent the next decade or so scoring hit after hit, nearly all of them wheeled by producer Bud Logan. In the year 1979, he had two number ones – “Lady Lay Down” and “Backside of Thirty”. Through 1981, four of his songs reached #2 – “Before My Time”, “Friday Night Blues”, “She Can’t Say That Anymore”, and “Miss Emily’s Picture”. Over 1983 and 1984, Conlee made great comebacks at the charts – “Common Man”, “I’m Only in It for the Love”, and “In My Eyes”. Lastly, his last number one in 1986 was “Got My Heart Set on You”.

To sum up, Conlee made the Top Ten 19 times through 1987. After he moved from MCA to Columbia and reached the Top Five with “Domestic Life”, he became more successful.

Consequently, Conlee cut back his recording activities and touring. He devoted his time to charity work particularly on behalf of American farmers. Additionally, he spent time raising his family and running his own farm outside Nashville.


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