One of the best songwriters in Nashville
In his earlier days in Nashville, Larry Gatlin earned his reputation as one of the Music City’ best songwriters. Even though he signed a recording deal with Monument Records in 1973, at first other vocalists fared much better with his material.
In late 1974, Gatlin reached No. 14 with “Delta Dirt.” In the meantime, Elvis Presley took his gospel song “Help Me” all the way to No. 6. Johnny Rodriguez was the second performer to earn a Gatlin hit when he cut “I Just Can’t Get Her Out Of My Mind.” It became the first of Larry’s songs to reach No. 1.
From Larry Gatlin to Johnny Rodriguez
One day, Larry Gatlin was invited to Terre Haute, Indiana to sing at the annual CBS Christmas party. After the party, Gatlin went back to the Holiday Inn where he was staying. The bar was closed, everything was pretty much shut down, so Gatlin went on up to his room. He ended up writing “I Just Can’t Get Her Out Of My Mind” that very night. The next day, Larry sang it for Tex Davis, who was the head of national promotions for Monument Records at the time. Davis thought it would be a smash, but Gatlin had just finished an album and wasn’t going to record for a while. Johnny Rodriguez was breaking out nationwide. With three number one singles and four other Top Ten entries under his belt, Larry cut a demo and sent it on over to Johnny Rodriguez.
Johnny Rodriguez was knocked out by the song, however, he was also entranced with Larry’s voice. He told his producer Jerry Kennedy that this Gatlin guy should be recording, not cutting demos. That all changed about a year later when Larry notched his first Top Five hit with “Broken Lady”. Gatlin didn’t stop pitching materials to Johnny Rodriguez, though. In 1977, they hooked up again when Larry wrote another Top Five hit for Johnny, “If Practice Makes Perfect”. As for Rodriguez’s recording of “I Can’t Get Her Out Of My Mind”. The song entered Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart on February 8, 1975. It became his fourth No. 1 hit on April 5th.