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Nov. 8: Sonny James, the Alabama-born “Southern Gentleman,” finally gained long-overdue membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He was wildly popular in the 1960s and ’70s — his records spent a collective 57 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s charts during those two decades, more than any other country artist of the time. This is one of those chart-toppers, a 1969 cover of Ivory Joe Hunter’s fine ballad from the 1950s.

This is a weird recording. Supposedly it was cut June 4 during a performance before a Houston Astros baseball game, which generated the live album The Astrodome Presents In Person Sonny James. But, aside from the cheering that begins and ends the record, it sounds like a studio effort. And in fact, it was overdubbed on July 24. So maybe some of the live performance remains in the record, maybe not.

But it’s a good song in any event, one of several earlier pop hits that James covered in his career. I chose it because today is the 35th anniversary of the death in Memphis of its author, Ivory Joe Hunter.

Learn more about Sonny James here, and about his highly successful recording output here.


Country Music Hall of Fame Class of 2006: Sonny James, George Strait and guitar master Harold Bradley. (Bradley is listed as a musician on "Since I Met You Baby.")