January 23

“Statue of a Fool”: A Controversial Hit Covered by Ricky Van Shelton

“Statue of a Fool” is a controversial song covered by Ricky Van Shelton. According to Genna Sapia-Ruffin, David Ruffin wrote and originally released the track in 1958. David Ruffin’s mother had this recorded on page 251 of her book A Memoir: David Ruffin – My Temptation (1993-2003, 1st Books Library). Genna shared that when David was recording under the name “Little Eddie Bush”, the song came to life. However, as he was only seventeen years old at that time, later covers of the song gave writing credits to Jan Crutchfield.

“Statue of a Fool” Uncovered

Since a number of country artists made their own covers. In 1969, country music artist Jack Greene recorded and released “Statue of a Fool” as a single. It instantly became a number 1 hit. Sometime in 1974, Brian Collins made his own cover on his second album: This Is Brian Collins. It peaked at number 10 on the country charts. David Ruffin, formerly of The Temptations, rerecorded the song in 1975, with his name unchallenged as the sole writer. Bill Medley, formerly of The Righteous Brothers, also released a rendition in 1979 that occupied the 91st spot on the same chart. In 1989, it was recorded by country music artist Ricky Van Shelton, who released it as a single from the album, RVS III. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Also, his version hit #1 on the Canadian RPM country singles chart.

By 1990, Shelton was one of Nashville’s top stars. He has won numerous CMA and was holding up a string of hits for the record label Columbia. In his live concerts, he started using “Statue of a Fool”. As part of his success, he received a great enthusiastic crowd response.

One day, Steve Buckingham asked Shelton about the song. Ricky’s producer told him that it was an old Jack Greene hit, written by Jan Crutchfield way back 1969. Buckingham had never heard Greene’s record. He contacted Crutchfield to inform him of Ricky’s intention to cut “Statue of a Fool” and release it as a single. Shelton’s version stayed on the charts for 26 weeks. He landed the runner-up position for two weeks.


Ricky Van Shelton, statue of a fool

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