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March 2: Hard-country purists cringe at most of the countrypolitan sound of the 1970s. I’m with them in spirit, but to me a great record trumps genre purity. And this is a great record, one of two cuts on the Silver Fox’s Behind Closed Doors album that made him a crossover superstar. The single won two Grammy awards 36 years ago today, one for Rich and one for writer Kenny O’Dell.

In a way, it’s too bad, because his natural blues-jazz inclinations made for wonderful, if less commercially viable, music earlier in his career. But it’s hard to argue with success, and the beginnings of this phase of Charlie Rich’s output sounded really good. On this record, note the piano stylings of not Rich — although he was a fine ivory-tickler — but of Hargus (Pig) Robbins.

Check out this article from 2007 on Sound On Sound magazine’s Web site, providing insight on how producer Billy Sherrill and engineer Lou Bradley handled their artists generally and Rich specifically in the historic Quonset Hut studio on Music Row. And get the total lowdown on Charlie Rich in his bio on Allmusic.com.

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