September 20

A Lookback at Ray Price and “For The Good Times”

The Artist

Noble Ray Price was an American country music singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His wide-ranging baritone is regarded as among the best male voices of country music, and his innovations, such as propelling the country beat from 2/4 to 4/4, known as the “Ray Price beat”, helped make country music more popular.

Some of his well-known recordings include “Release Me”, “Crazy Arms”, “Heartaches by the Number”, “For the Good Times”, “Night Life”, and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. Price continued to record and tour well into his mid-eighties.

The Good Times

When Ray Price reached the top of Billboard’s country chart with “For The Good Times” in 1970, it ended a ten-year absence of #1 hits for a man who had experimented with several musical styles. Noted initially for the walking bass of his country shuffles, Price had later opted for a more urbane sound, enhanced by a bevy of strings. When that texture met Kris Kristofferson’s “For The Good Times,” the result not only reached the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart but also went to #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart, marking Price’s only venture into the pop Top Forty.

In an interview with the Nashville Tennessean, given while Ray’s record was breaking through, Kristofferson talked about the development of “For The Good Times” during his drive down to the Gulf. He devised the melody first, believing it to be one of the best he had ever come up with. Kris couldn’t wait to get to a guitar. He wondered what the chords were and if he could even play it. Continuing his drive he assembled a portion of the lyrics, but it was sometime later before he finished it.

After the song was completed and sent to the publisher, Ray Pennington, a song promoter for Buckhorn Music (the publishing company Kris was writing for), thought “For The Good Times” might do well for Ray Price, who was touring at the time.

And More of It

In March of 1971, Price won his only Grammy award for the tune. That same year, the Academy of Country Music cited “For The Good Times” as Song of the Year and Single Record Of The Year. Additionally, the “For The Good Times” LP earned Album of the Year honors. Despite the enormous success of “For The Good Times,”

Sadly on December 16, 2013,  he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in 2012, and have undergone therapy. His cancer to be in remission in May 2013 but it appeared that he was already in his final stages of pancreatic cancer after being hospitalized due to severe dehydration.

I hope you all enjoyed today’s look back at Ray Price and his amazing song “For The Good Times.” I think that this song is one of the greatest of all time performed by Ray and an exquisite one written by Kris Kristofferson.


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for the good times, ray price


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