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Career Highlights

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TOP 15 COUNTRY HITMAKERS 1960-1979

TOP 15 COUNTRY HITMAKERS 1960-1979


ARTISTS & #1 HITS


ARTISTS & WEEKS AT #1


Conway Twitty:28Sonny James:57
Merle Haggard:24Buck Owens:44
Sonny James:22Merle Haggard:43
Charley Pride:22Charley Pride:41
Buck Owens:20Conway Twitty:37
Tammy Wynette:20Tammy Wynette:37
Loretta Lynn:16Johnny Cash:33
Marty Robbins:10Marty Robbins:30
Waylon Jennings:10Waylon Jennings:26
Dolly Parton:10Bill Anderson:23
Johnny Cash:8George Jones:22
George Jones:8Loretta Lynn:21
Bill Anderson:7Eddy Arnold:20
Eddy Arnold:7Jim Reeves:19
Jim Reeves:6Dolly Parton:13

ARTIST & BILLBOARD RANKINGS


ARTIST & TOP 10 HITS


George Jones:7237Loretta Lynn:47
Buck Owens:6019George Jones:46
Johnny Cash:5833Buck Owens:45
Merle Haggard:5353Merle Haggard:44
Sonny James:5207Conway Twitty:43
Loretta Lynn:5204Charley Pride:38
Conway Twitty:4989Sonny James:37
Bill Anderson:4866Tammy Wynette:35
Tammy Wynette:4253Bill Anderson:35
Charley Pride:4107Marty Robbins:32
Waylon Jennings:4102Johnny Cash:31
Dolly Parton:4100Waylon Jennings:30
Eddy Arnold:4033Dolly Parton:30
Marty Robbins:4031Jim Reeves:29
Jim Reeves:3984Ray Price:25
MOST POPULAR RECORDINGS

MOST POPULAR RECORDINGS

All rankings provided by Billboard. Pop/Rock Comparisons are provided to match the time in music history.


VideoSong TitleTop RankMonth/YearChart Weeks#1 Pop/Rock Same Time Period

Young Love

#1

December 1956
24 Weeks
Young Love - Sonny James

You're The Only World I Know

#1

November 1964
25 Weeks
Baby Love - The Supremes

I'll Keep Holding On (Just to Your Love)

#2

March 1965
20 Weeks
Eight Days A Week - The Beatles

Behind The Tear

#1

October 1965
22 Weeks
Yesterday - The Beatles

True Love's A Blessing

#3

December 1965
18 Weeks
Get Off Of My Cloud - The Rolling Stones

Take Good Care of Her

#1

April 1966
20 Weeks
19th Nervous Breakdown - The Rolling Stones

Room In Your Heart

#2

August 1966
20 Weeks
Summer In The City - Lovin’ Spoonful
LEGENDARY STREAK OF 16 CONSECUTIVE NUMBER ONES BEGINS

Need You

#1

April 1967
18 Weeks
Happy Together - Turtles

I'll Never Find Another You

#1

June 1967
17 Weeks
Respect - Aretha Franklin

It's The Little Things

#1

August 1967
18 Weeks
All You Need Is Love - The Beatles

A World of Our Own

#1

January 1968
17 Weeks
Hello Goodbye - The Beatles

Heaven Says Hello

#1

June 1968
17 Weeks
Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel

Born to Be with You

#1

October 1968
16 Weeks
Hey Jude - The Beatles

Only the Lonely

#1

January 1969
16 Weeks
I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

Running Bear

#1

May 1969
15 Weeks
Get Back - The Beatles

Since I Met You Baby

#1

September 1969
15 Weeks
Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones

It's Just a Matter of Time

#1

January 1970
14 Weeks
I Want You Back - The Jackson 5

My Love

#1

April 1970
15 Weeks
Let It Be - The Beatles

Don't Keep Me Hangin' On

#1

July 1970
15 Weeks
The Love You Save - The Jackson 5

Endlessly

#1

October 1970
16 Weeks
I’ll Be There - The Jackson 5

Empty Arms

#1

February 1970
16 Weeks
Lonely Days - The Bee Gees

Bright Lights, Big City

#1

June 1971
13 Weeks
It’s Too Late - Carole King

Here Comes Honey Again

#1

September 1971
15 Weeks
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - The Bee Gees
STREAK ENDS

Only Love Can Break A Heart

#2

January 1972
16 Weeks
American Pie - Don McLean

That's Why I Love You Like I Do

#1

May 1972
11 Weeks
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack

When the Snow Is on the Roses

#1

July 1972
15 Weeks
Lean On Me - Bill Withers

Is It Wrong (For Loving You)

#1

March 1974
15 Weeks
Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks


MONTAGE VIDEOS CREATED BY & COURTESY OF RICHARD CUSTER


POPULAR TITLES

In the early ’60s James re-established his career as one of the most successful recording artists of all time. For nineteen years (1960-1979) his hit recordings were a dominate force in the growth of Country radio.

Country music history verifies his achievements.

SONNY JAMES: MOST POPULAR RECORDINGS

RUNNING BEAR
YOUNG LOVE
I’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
NEED YOU
YOU’RE THE ONLY WORLD I KNOW
BORN TO BE WITH YOU
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY
HEAVEN SAYS HELLO
DON’T KEEP ME HANGIN’ ON
TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER
MY LOVE
HERE COMES HONEY AGAIN
FOR RENT
SINCE I MET YOU BABY
A WORLD OF OUR OWN
BEHIND THE TEAR
THAT’S WHY I LOVE YOU LIKE I DO
WHEN THE SNOW IS ON THE ROSES
IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME
ENDLESSLY
A LITTLE BIT SOUTH OF SASKATOON
ROOM IN YOUR HEART
THE CAT CAME BACK
EMPTY ARMS
ONLY THE LONELY
TRUE LOVE’S A BLESSING
BALTIMORE
IS IT WRONG
I’LL KEEP HOLDING ON (JUST TO YOUR LOVE)
ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK A HEART
WHITE SILVER SAND
COME ON IN
AMI-ESPOSA CON AMOUR (TO MY WIFE WITH LOVE)
THE MINUTE YOU’RE GONE
LITTLE BAND OF GOLD
WHAT IN THE WORLDS COME OVER YOU
GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS (OF LIVING)
TWENTY FEET OF MUDDY WATER
CARIBBEAN
I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE EVERYDAY
FIRST DATE, FIRST KISS, FIRST LOVE
JENNY LOU
UH-HUH-MN
ASK MARIE
WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BABY
THE PRISONER’S SONG
THAT’S ME WITHOUT YOU
SHE DONE GIVE HER HEART TO ME
YOU’RE FREE TO GO
IN THE JAILHOUSE NOW
THIS IS THE LOVE
LOVE SICK BLUES
YOU’RE THE REASON I’M IN LOVE
INNOCENT LIES
TIL THE LAST LEAF SHALL FALL


HONORS RECEIVED

HONORS RECEIVED


Sonny James
1961
Became the first country artist (recording division) to be honored with a star in the prestigious Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1962
Joined the world famous Grand Ole Opry.

1967
The honors continued when James would host the first CMA Award Show.

1960’s and 70’s
Named Male Artist of The Decade by Record World.

1987
Inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

June, 2001
MALE GOLDEN VOICE AWARD
-Golden Voice Awards

November, 2001
MASTER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
R.O.P.E. AWARDS

June, 2002
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
-The Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.

August 30, 2006
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME.

2009
Inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

NOTABLE FIRSTS

NOTABLE FIRSTS


In 1956 as rock n roll was just beginning, Sonny’s multi-million selling single Young Love exploded on the scene and became a #1 country and pop hit – the first such cross-over of its kind by a country artist.

In 1957 Sonny became the first country recording artist to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In 1961, honoring his contribution to the music industry, Sonny James was the first country music recording artist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6630 Hollywood Blvd.

In 1967 along with Bobbi Gentry, James hosted the first CMA Awards Show.

In the midst of the American Civil Rights era with his #1 release of Adam Wade’s “Take Good Care of Her” in 1966, Sonny was the first country artist to record and deliver an R&B song into the country music mainstream. During his highly successful run of 16 consecutive #1 hits, beginning in 1969 of the next 7 singles James recorded – 5 had previously been moderately successful releases for soulful R&B artists Ivory Joe Hunter, Brook Benton, Clyde Otis and Jimmy Reed. Those 5 songs were Since I Met You Baby, It’s Just A Matter of Time, Endlessly, Empty Arms and Bright Lights, Big City – all of which reached #1 on the Billboard country charts.

In February 1971, James was the first country artist whose music went into space and he made a special music recording for the crew of Apollo 14. They later presented him with one of the small American flags they had carried to the Moon.

As the producer of Marie Osmond’s first three albums beginning in 1973, the initial single “Paper Roses” upon reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart less than one month after her 14th birthday caused her to become the youngest female and overall youngest solo artist to ever reach this No. 1 chart position. A record that still stands.

THE CAREER OF SONNY JAMES

THE CAREER OF SONNY JAMES


Sonny-James
Born in Hackleburg Alabama on May 1, 1928, Sonny James would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. The last leaf was fallen for him upon his passing on February 22, 2016.

With a natural talent for playing stringed instruments it would be at the age of four, when placed at the centerpiece of his family’s country show consisting of his mom and pop Loden, sister Thelma and friend Ruby Palmer, is where he first began to realize his potential to entertain others.

Because he was just a kid he was affectionately called “Sonny Boy” by family and friends, yet by 1952 when he signed with Capitol Records this six-foot three-inch talent was re-billed as The Southern Gentleman, a tag that portrayed his unyielding polite ways.

In 1956 as rock-n-roll was just beginning Sonny’s multi-million selling Young Love exploded on the scene and became a simultaneous #1 country and pop hit – the first such traditional country cross-over of it’s kind.

By 1963 a collaboration at Capitol Studios in Hollywood with Nat King Cole, a fellow Alabama native and favorite of Sonny and his father, would begin to focus Sonny’s musical approach into a more pop-sounding style of country in the hopes of broadening the country listening audience.

Beginning in 1964 with the addition of The Southern Gentlemen made up of bassist Milo Liggett, backing vocalists Lin Bown, Gary Robble, Duane West and Glenn Huggins; a refined musical style was immediately found to be identifiable by listeners. Supported by the Capitol Records team led by Ken Nelson, Sonny began what would become his legendary streak of 16 consecutive #1 releases – an uncontested record which no other solo recording artist has ever surpassed in any genre.

A mere decade later, Sonny James had amassed a surreal 16 #1’s in a row, and 26 #1’s in total culminating in 72 titles on the country charts. From 1966 through 1971 six of his most popular #1 recordings had previously been released by soulful R&B artists Adam Wade, Ivory Joe Hunter, Brooke Benton, Clyde Otis and Jimmy Reed.

Sonny’s broad appeal not only as a performer, but an entertainer, brought him into larger and larger markets and venues as he created new paths for others to follow which had not previously been welcoming to country artists in general, including his numerous appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Always an integral part of his sound and style, his mastery of the guitar as a musician added a depth to his recordings and stage appeal which translated perfectly to television. His full vocal tones backed by his “Southern Gentlemen” created a sound that was awarded time after time with great success.

The first country recording artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his hits “The Minute You’re Gone”, “You’re The Only World I Know”, “It’s Just A Matter Of Time”, “Running Bear”, “Empty Arms” and so many more – make it easy to realize that at the same time the world was beginning to listen to music from the British invasion of the 1960’s, they were hearing Sonny James on country radio.

Immediately following his string of #1’s, Sonny went on to produce the first 3 albums for Marie Osmond, which saw the first single, Paper Roses, surpass sales of 1 million worldwide and Marie was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Throughout his life he has stood always at the ready to share a funny story. Accompanied by his boyish smile, this man of deep faith never failed to cultivate his unique gift of making every friend feel as if they were his greatest friend every step of the way.

Jimmie Hugh Loden (Sonny James) is survived in life by his beloved wife of 58 years Doris Shrode Loden, sister-in-law Sally Ribble, niece Donna and husband “Joe” Mora, nephew Chuck Holcombe, Terry and Pam Holcombe.

Preceded in death by his father Archey Loden, mother Della Loden, and sister Thelma Lee Holcombe.

With immense admiration we say thanks to not only the Southern Gentleman, but a True Gentlemen and beloved friend to so many.

On August 30th of 2006, the day it was announced Sonny James was to be an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Kix Brooks (Brooks And Dunn) probably said it best, “This is an artist who really dominated his time in history.”

Similar accolades from fellow entertainers began early in James’ career… Elvis Presley, from the best seller book “Elvis, Word for Word” was asked “who do you think’s the greatest country and western singer that’s alive today” his reply, “I like Sonny James”.

Friend Kris Kristofferson presents plaque to Sonny commemorating
James’ Induction Into the Country Music Hall Of Fame

Capitol Records released his signature song “Young Love” in late 1956. This giant hit became one of the most recognizable songs ever recorded. It was the first Traditional Country/Teen cross over record. Followed by fellow Capitol artist Ferlin Huskey’s “Gone” and later Marty Robbin’s “White Sport Coat”.

YouTube Playlist:

The 26 #1 Hits of Sonny James

[Courtesy of Richard Custer]

Learn how Nat King Cole’s collaboration with Sonny James in 1963 at Capitol Studios in Hollywood became the formula for the greatest streak of Consecutive #1 Singles the recording industry has ever known in any genre from a solo artist before or since.

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