January 4

Originally by George Jones, “Why Baby Why” by Charley Pride

Originally by George Jones, “Why Baby Why” by Charley Pride 1

The Original Version

When country legend George Jones was a youngster, he would sometimes get away from his mother and take off down the street. His mother would ask an older boy who lived across the street to catch young George and bring him back. That boy was Darrell Edwards. Years later, Jones and Edwards collaborated on a number of songs.

One of the best-known songs of George Jones and Darrell Edwards is “Why Baby Why”.

The song’s tune was inspired when Edwards overheard a couple fighting in their car.

It gave George Jones a national acclaim in 1955 providing his debut No. 4 hit. Also, it attracted a lot of cover versions. The biggest of those covers was a 1956 duet of the tune by Red Sovine and Webb Price. Their version together with Jones’ version was as country-sounding as it could be. it amazingly topped the chart for four weeks in 1956. It was during the dawn of the onslaught of rock and roll that nearly destroyed country music in the mid-to-late 1950s.

Charley Pride’s Version

Twenty-seven years later, Charley Pride was working on an album of oldies. The album was titled “Country Classics” and he personally selected “Why Baby Why” as one of the songs he wanted to do. Pride’s label, RCA, decided to issue the track as a single with a twist.

The label turned it into a “fake” live recording. The single was shipped to radio with a different version on each side.

One contained the version that appeared on the “Country Classics” album. The other sported the exact same cut, with “canned” applause dubbed in at a few choice spots. The fabricated version was then added to the “Charley Pride Live” album. Most radio stations played the “studio” version without the applause.

“Why Baby Why” soared to number one on Billboard’s country singles chart February 26, 1983. It provided Charley Pride with his 28th chart-topping hit. He would have just one more, “Night Games” the following summer, marking a career total of 29 number ones. He was the sixth-most in history behind Alabama’s 32, Ronnie Milsap’s 35, Merle Haggard’s 38, Conway Twitty’s 40 and George Strait’s 44, the accurate, authentic and official Billboard count.

 


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Charley Pride, George Jones, why baby why


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