Lee.Charles (Charlie) Rich (December 14, 1932 – July 25, 1995) was an American country music singer and musician. A Grammy Award winner, his eclectic-style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, playing in the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, and gospel genres.
In the latter part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname The Silver Fox. He is perhaps best remembered for a pair of 1973 hits, "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl". "The Most Beautiful Girl" topped the U.S. country singles charts, as well as the pop singles charts. Early recording career: late 1950s and 1960s
Rich was a session musician for Judd Records, owned by Judd Phillips, the brother of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips. After recording some demos for Sam Phillips at Sun Records that Phillips didn't find commercial enough, and too jazzy, legend has it that he was given a stack of Jerry Lee Lewis records and told: "come back when you get that bad." A September 6, 2010 NPR airing of 1992 interview with Fresh Air host Terry Gross Charlie Rich tells the story himself of Sam Phillips telling Rich's wife those exact words. In 1958, Rich became a regular session musician for Sun Records playing on records by Lewis, Johnny Cash, Bill Justis, Warren Smith, Billy Lee Riley, Carl Mann, and Ray Smith. He also wrote songs for Lewis, Cash, and others. His third single for the Sun subsidiary, Phillips International Records, was the 1960 Top 30 hit, "Lonely Weekends," noted for its Presley-like vocals. None of his seven follow-up singles was a success, though several of the songs became staples in his live set, including "Who Will the Next Fool Be," "Sittin' and Thinkin'," and "No Headstone on My Grave." These songs were often recorded by others to varying degrees of success, such as the Bobby Bland version of "Who Will the Next Fool Be."
Rich's career stalled, and he left the struggling Sun label in 1963, signing with a subsidiary of RCA Records, Groove. His first single for Groove, "Big Boss Man," was a minor hit, but again his Chet Atkins-produced follow-ups all stiffed. Rich moved to Smash Records early in 1965. Rich's new producer, Jerry Kennedy, encouraged the pianist to emphasize his country and rock & roll leanings, although Rich considered himself a jazz pianist and had not paid much attention to country music since his childhood. The first single for Smash was "Mohair Sam," an R&B-inflected novelty-rock number, and it became a Top 30 pop hit. Unfortunately again for Rich, none of his follow-up singles were successful. Rich was forced to change labels, moving over to Hi Records, where he recorded blue-eyed soul music and straight country, but none of his singles made a dent on the country or pop charts. One Hi Records track Love
Is After Me from 1966 belatedly became a Northern Soul favourite in the early 1970s.
Charlie Rich was traveling to Florida with his wife from Natchez, Mississippi, where he watched his son perform with Freddy Fender at a local casino, when he experienced a bout of severe coughing. After visiting a doctor in St. Francisville, Louisiana and receiving antibiotics, he continued traveling until he stopped to rest for the night. He died in his sleep on July 25, 1995, in a Hammond, Louisiana motel. He was 62 years old. The cause of death was a pulmonary embolism. He was buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. At the time, Charlie Rich was survived by his wife of 43 years, Margaret; two sons, Allan and Jack; two daughters, Rene and Laurie; and grandchildren Maggie Carber Yelverton, Wesley Carber, and Christian Cole.
|Birth name||Charles Rich|
|Born||December 14, 1932|
Colt, Arkansas, U.S.
|Died||July 25, 1995 (aged 62)|
Hammond, Louisiana, U.S.
|Genres||Country, Country pop, Nashville Sound, Rockabilly, Jazz, Blues,Gospel, Northern Soul,|
|Instruments||Vocals, Piano, Guitar|
|Labels||Sun, Groove / RCA, Smash Records, Hi Records, Epic, UA,Elektra, Sire Records|
|Associated acts||Roger Miller, Janie Fricke|