You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Billy Sherrill’ tag.

Click to listen

June 25-27

Why this weekend? Forty-three years ago Sunday, Tammy Wynette was in the studio recording her first chart-topping record.

About the record: Epic 5-10211, recorded June 27, 1967, at Columbia Studios in Nashville. Released the following month, it eventually reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s country chart. First LP appearance was on Take Me To Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House, Epic BN-26353, released Jan. 5, 1968. It reached No. 3 on Billboard‘s country album chart.

Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill were quite a team. As a producer, he was the first person in Nashville to give the Alabama hairdresser a chance with her songs, and he helped her become a singer to be reckoned with. As a songwriter, he created several of her big hits, some with her collaboration, some not. This one he wrote with Nashville tunesmith Glenn Sutton. It’s a great song, but Tammy’s performance sells it.

Dynamics were key to those early Wynette records; the way her quiet, lower-register delivery in the verses gave way to higher notes and a louder voice in the chorus reminds me of Big Band arrangements from 20 years earlier. That pattern is exhibited here, and it wasn’t limited to the recording studio. Steve Earle once said of seeing Tammy perform this song at the Grand Ole Opry when he was a child in the ’60s: “It was dynamic. She was so tiny and the chorus would hit and wow!”

About the artist: Revisit this 3 Chords post from January for more on Tammy Wynette, including her first single and a book passage in which Sherrill talks about the impact she made right out of the gate.

Click to listen

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Click to listen

Feb. 25: This classic from the pen of Bob McDill has to be the only country song to namecheck American literary giant Tennessee Williams. On this, the 27th anniversary of the playwright’s death, let’s hear it again, using the occasion also to praise Don Williams and his fellow members of the newly minted 2010 class of the Country Music Hall of Fame: Ferlin Husky, Jimmy Dean and – it’s about dang time — Billy Sherrill.

The Country Music Association announced the quartet’s selection this week. Read Peter Cooper’s Tennessean story to learn more about Don Williams, “the gentle giant”; Husky, Nashville Sound pioneer and primo entertainer; Dean, TV impresario whose fame transcended music to also include the breakfast meat case at the supermarket; and Sherrill, who wrote and/or produced some of country music’s most memorable songs.

Today marks Williams’ 3 Chords a Day debut. But we’ve heard from his fellow inductees before; in Sherrill’s case, several times. Here are links to previous posts on Husky, Dean and Sherrill. Congratulations, gentlemen.

Click to listen

Feb. 6: It’s the saddest song, and the most mournful voice, and the most histrionic production and the cruelest punchline in the history of country music. But what a magnificent cry America had in 1980 when the first track of George Jones’ album I Am What I Am became the brilliant, infamous superstar’s first Number One single in six years.

Those aren’t my words; they were written in 2001 by Mix Magazine‘s Barbara Schultz, for an installment of its Classic Tracks series. It’s the story of the recording of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” generally considered the greatest country song of all time. I’ve never seen it as THE greatest, but there’s no doubt that only a few others could put up a credible challenge.

The process of turning an 8-on-a-10-scale song into an 11-on-a-10-scale record began in the Quonset Hut studio 30 years ago today. Read Schultz’s great article to learn how the Hut was set up that day, which equipment was used, and how the great producer Billy Sherrill and his engineers approached their craft.

Whether or not it’s the best of all time, there’s never a bad time to hear “He Stopped Loving Her Today” one more time. So, give it a spin and have yourself a good cry.

Click to listen

Jan. 11: The Tammy Wynette Highway, a stretch of road in her hometown of Red Bay, Ala., was dedicated on this date in 1990. Here’s the song that, 24 years earlier, started Wynette down the road to her position as the First Lady of Country Music, “the best female country singer of her time.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Click to listen

Jan. 5: It’s been too long since we’ve heard from Marty Robbins here on 3 Chords a Day, so I’ve cued up a number that was released as a single 32 years ago today.

Like many a country artist on a CBS label, Robbins spent time with Billy Sherrill as his producer. Marty could sing in any style, and Sherrill could produce in any style. Their style on this, a cover of the two-decade-old Dean Martin pop effort, was pure countrypolitan. In fact, Dino’s dabbles in country music in the ’60s and ’70s didn’t sound altogether different from this. (Robbins paid Romance-language homage to Martin by singing a verse in Spanish, a la Martin’s verse in Italian.)

Clearly this isn’t the honky-tonk or boogie music that I prefer. But there’s hardly a Marty Robbins song I don’t like, or a Billy Sherrill-produced cut not worth giving a listen. Put ’em together, and you can’t go wrong. I bet you won’t even notice there’s no steel or fiddle!

Click to listen

Nov. 24: Johnny Paycheck’s 36-year career had its ups and downs, during stints as a stone honky-tonker, a strings-abetted countrypolitan and, by the time “Slide Off Your Satin Sheets” was released in 1977, an outlaw. The Billy Sherrill-produced gem doesn’t sound “outlaw” to me, but it did lead Paycheck out of a three-year-long trough in the charts.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Fan” me on Facebook, get automatic updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to 3 Chords a Day and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 45 other followers

August 2020