Alana takes over as the guest conductor of Monday’s Music Moves Me, and picked a real beaut for the theme for today, crossovers. A crossover is a song or an artist who finds success with several different audiences, e.g an R&B song that’s popular with pop audiences or a Christian artist who finds success on the country chart. I’ve picked a few songs that I consider crossovers for your listening pleasure.
- Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” A song written by country singer Don Gibson, who reached #1 on the country chart with it in 1958. Ray covered it on his 1962 crossover album Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music and reached #1 on the Hot 100, R&B chart, and Adult Contemporary chart. CMT ranks Ray’s version #49 on its list of the 100 Best Country song, and Rolling Stone magazine ranks it #164 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
- Charlie Rich, “Behind Closed Doors” The Silver Fox had several songs that crossed over to the Pop charts in the ’70’s. This one reached #1 on the Country chart, #15 on the Hot 100, and #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart. He had even better luck with his next song, “The Most Beautiful Girl,” which reached #1 on all three charts.
- Dolly Parton, “9 To 5” Dolly’s just amazing, a singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by a number of artists in a number of different genres. in the mid-’70’s, she sought to expand her appeal to pop audiences, and found success with “Here You Come Again,” reaching #3 on the Hot 100 as well as #3 on the Hot 100. Dolly wrote and recorded the theme song for the 1980 movie 9 To 5. It reached #1 on the Country, Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts in 1981. Sheena Easton had recorded a song called “Nine To Five” a couple of months before Dolly’s song, and when it crossed the Atlantic it was renamed “Morning Train (Nine To Five)” to avoid confusion.
- Amy Grant, “Baby Baby” Contemporary Christian Music artist Amy Grant decided to broaden her audience in the early ’90’s, and recorded the album Heart In Motion in 1991. This was the first single from that album and it reached #1 on the Hot 100.
- Marvin Hamlisch, “The Entertainer” This is a little different, but I’m calling it a crossover song. It was written by ragtime legend Scott Joplin in 1902. Marvin Hamlisch adapted for use in the 1973 movie The Sting and received an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and Adaptation in 1974. It became popular with both popular and classical audiences, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and was called “the classical phenomenon of the decade” by Record World magazine.
- Lou Rawls, “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” Why Lou Rawls had such a hard time finding his way to Top 40 popularity is a mystery to me. He had a fantastic voice (Frank Sinatra said he had “the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing business”), won three Grammys for Best Male Vocalist in his career, and was active in charity work, but he never earned much recognition for his music until this song in 1976, which topped the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and reached #3 on the Hot 100.
- Chet Atkins, “Take Five” Guitarist par excellence Chet Atkins made incredible contributions to country music, both as a performer and as director of A&R for RCA Records in Nashville, where he’s credited with developing the “Nashville Sound.” He never let his identity as a country music artist limit the the music he did, however, and here’s a prime example of that. Paul Desmond wrote the jazz standard “Take Five” for the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959 for their album Time Out, a landmark album that explored odd time signatures (e.g. &frac54;). Chet recorded it sometime in the early ’60’s.
- Conway Twitty and Sam Moore, “Rainy Night In Georgia” In 1994, MCA Records released the album Rhythm, Country and Blues, which paired R&B and country artists on classic songs. “Rainy Night In Georgia” was written by Tony Joe White (while he was living not far from me and working for Georgia Power) and was popularized by Brook Benton in 1970. Conway Twitty is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Rockabilly Hall of Fame, while Sam Moore, one-half of the duo Sam & Dave, is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and they have a hell of a good time recording this. Not long after this, Conway died.
- Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” Dolly Parton wrote this song in 1973 as a farewell to her former singing partner Porter Wagoner. It reached #1 on the Country chart twice, once in 1974 and again in October 1982, when she re-recorded it as part of the soundtrack of the movie The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, which starred her and Burt Reynolds. In 1992, Whitney Houston recorded it as part of the soundtrack for the 1992 movie The Bodyguard, which starred her and Kevin Costner. It spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and is one of the best-selling singles of all time as well as being the best-selling single by a woman of all time. It found chart success again twenty years later, shortly after Ms. Houston’s death. I was surprised to learn that Dolly had written it.
- Kenny Rogers, “Lucille” Kenny had plenty of chart success as a member of The First Edition, and this was his first song after leaving that group in 1977. It reached #1 on the Country chart and #5 on the Hot 100. Kenny has had a lot of success on both charts since then, including duets with Dolly Parton.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 4, 2018.