Country Music People March 2019 - Page 25

Top: Burt Retynolds and Jerry Reed in Smokey And The Bandit. Above: Mickey Gilley and John Travolta celebrating Urban Cowboy, which centred around Gilley’s nightclub. In the movie, Bud (Travolta) exclaimed “Holy shit. This place is bigger than my whole hometown” on entering the club in Pasadena, Texas. Keith Whitley plays the Wembley Festival. Right: A poster for the 1978 Wembley Festival featuring amongst others Merle Haggard, Don Williams, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, and Joe Ely. Far right: C2C 2018’s poster and line-up. Opposite page: Connie Britton, and Hayden Panettiere in “Nashville.” Left: Aug 1982 CMP featuring the Peterborough Festival Of Country Music. Far left: Spot the difference - The Total Country and Long Road logos. attention to the UK Top 40 charts any more. Even youngsters don’t have the interest they once did and those halcyon days of huddling around the wireless on a Sunday evening waiting for the brand new Top 20 rundown will never return. Chart positions are used for PR purposes and little else it seems, but in the 1970s you would have found Tammy Wynette, Billie Jo Spears, Charlie Rich, Eddie Rabbitt, and Don Williams doing rather nicely on the UK pop charts and as a natural by-product of that, those artists (and their records) were known to the nation—that’s cross-over! Even a decade earlier Jim Reeves was topping the charts with Distant Drums in 1966 and spent a total of 322 weeks on the UK singles chart. Johnny Cash gave us his masterpiece A Boy Named Sue and breached the Top 5 in 1969. And they weren’t the only ones. Let’s not forget Slim Whitman and Glen Campbell. They were household names with Whitman charting eight singles including his #1 Rose Marie, and later, three chart-topping albums in the 1970s. Meanwhile, Campbell was having hits with Witchita Lineman (#7-1969), Honey Come Back (#4-1970), and Rhinestone Cowboy (#4-1975) among them. However, even when chasing the pop crossover market it would generally be already established country artists doing so, but some of the big names of the day like Tom Jones and Dean Martin could also be found covering country songs such as Green Green Grass Of Home, Bummin’ Around, and Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On. In the 1970s Tammy Wynette hit the top spot with Stand By Your Man even though she is more often associated in the minds of the British public with the follow-up D.I.V.O.R.C.E. and became a household name. Billie Jo Spears hit the top ten with both Blanket On The Ground and What I’ve Got In Mind, and Charlie Rich had three Top 40 entries from his hit Behind Closed Doors album including the #4 The Most Beautiful Girl. Don Williams, and even The Charlie Daniels Band were other notable country artists crossing-over and achieving UK pop chart success. It would be hard to argue that Dutch band Pussycat were anything but country on their massive 1976 #1 Mississippi. Most importantly, every one of these singles would have been receiving mainstream (Radio 1) airplay at the time, helping to establish the artists as household names. A way from the charts and into the world of celluloid, Hollywood was exposing a generation of movie- goers to country music whether they wanted it or not. The Kristofferson vehicle (see what I did there?) Convoy (1978) was based around the C.W.McCall record of the same title, itself a bona-fide cross-over hit, whilst Burt Reynold’s iconic Smokey And The Bandit (1977-83) franchise MARCH 2019 - cmp 25