Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy birthday, “Mr. Country Rock!”

Billy Wayne “Crash” Craddock was born in Greensboro, NC on this date back in 1939, and despite the efforts of Columbia Records to promote him as an Elvis wannabe in the late 1950s, his success in the music business wouldn’t blossom (I guess you could say Sweet Magnolia Blossom, one of his many country music hits—if I were out to make an atrocious pun) until 1971, when he took a cover of Tony Orlando and Dawn’s Knock Three Times to #3 on Billboard’s country charts in 1971. Craddock soon followed that smash with a series of country versions of rock ‘n’ roll favorites: Dream Lover, You Better Move On, I’m Gonna Knock on Your Door, Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ (But the Leaves on the Trees), and Slippin’ and Slidin’.

But in 1974, Craddock would record for ABC-Dot his biggest success—Rub it In, a #1 country hit that also hit the Top 20 of the pop charts. Even if you’ve never heard the song, you’ll recognize a few bars of it anytime you watch one of those Glade Plug-In product commercials (“Plug it in/plug it in”)—and Craddock’s hit streak continued with country chart toppers like Ruby Baby (the old Dion hit) and Broken Down in Tiny Pieces. (Two years after Rub it In’s success, Craddock recorded a follow-up that I actually thought was better than the original, You Rubbed It In All Wrong.) Billy’s last record to hit the country Top Ten was If I Could Write a Song as Beautiful as You in 1979…and even though the odds of hearing one of his nineteen career Top 10’s on country radio nowadays are as rare as winning the lottery he still remains active in the music bidness. Thrilling Days of Yesteryear hereby commemorates Crash’s 71st natal anniversary with one of my favorites in the Craddock catalog, I Cheated on a Good Woman’s Love (from 1978):

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Bill Crider said...

Another favorite. Somewhere I have an 8-track tape of one of his albums.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I'm going to give you the same look one of my former co-workers used to give me when I would talk about vinyl records: "8-track?"

(I'm kidding, of course. In fact, one of my Statler Brothers albums was on an 8-track.)