This Top 10 Charlie Rich Songs list presents the best Charlie Rich songs including “Behind Closed Doors” “The Most Beautiful Girl,” and so many more. Born in Arkansas on December 14, 1932, Charles Rich was raised by parents that worked as cotton farmers. They also served as his musical influence as his father was a singer for the Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Forrest City and his mother served as its pianist. Rich learned how to play blues piano as a child and was a saxophonist for his high school’s band. After he graduated, he used his earned football scholarship to attend Arkansas State College. After a football injury, he transferred to the University of Arkansas as a music major.
After just one semester, he left college and joined the United States Air Force in 1953. Charlie Rich is best known for the music styles of blues, country, gospel, jazz, rockabilly, and soul. During the early stages of his career, he was often regarded as too jazzy to pass as a recording artist for the genre of country music. However, his eclectic style eventually paid off that rose him to the height of his fame in 1975.
The start of Charlie Rich’s career saw him transfer between four different recording labels after the first four saw, at best, moderately successful starts that were followed up with chart failures. It wasn’t until he signed up with Epic Records in 1967 did he finally find a niche that would turn his career from mediocrity to star quality. The producer of Epic Records, Billy Sherrill, helped Rich transform into a countrypolitan, a Nashville Sound balladeer during an era that saw rock and roll stars like Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitty shift their styles into a western and country format.
Rise and Fall
Starting in 1972, the formula Charlie Rich needed to kick his career as a first-class entertainer finally put the artist on a path that would make him become a chart-topping, award-winning star. The 1973 album, Behind Closed Doors, became his most successful recording as it earned him a string of hits that also won him a series of awards and critical recognition. However, upon reaching the height of his popularity, Charlie Rich began to drink heavily that soured the success formula that made him a star. This destructive behavior caught up with him during the 1975 awards ceremony for the Country Music Association.
While he was presenting the Entertainer of the Year award to its winner, John Denver, it was a disaster. Clearly intoxicated, Rich fumbled with the names of the nomination, clumsily opened up the winner’s envelope, and used a cigarette lighter to burn the paper that was inside. Intentional or not, witnesses wondered if this was an act of rebellion on his part as he made it no secret he felt John Denver’s music wasn’t country enough to earn a place in its category. Regardless of Rich’s intentions, his actions outraged the industry’s insiders and this caused his career to take a sharp nosedive.
After this scandalous event took place, it was later revealed Charlie Rich had been contending with a foot injury due to a freak accident that occurred shortly before the CMA awards ceremony. It was revealed he made a bad judgment call by mixing pain medication with alcohol right before he made his presentation that caused him to make a spectacle of himself that sent the entire entertainment industry reeling. According to Charlie Rich and his family, his public display was not meant to disrespect John Denver or the music industry, despite the personal opinions he had shared.
It wouldn’t be until 1977 Charlie Rich would experience a rebound when he recorded and released the single, “Rollin’ With the Flow.” From there, the hits continued into 1978 before his career slowed down again in 1979. By 1981, he opted to move himself away from the spotlight, living off his investments in semi-retirement. He continued to play occasional concerts, as well as played a small role in the 1981 film, Take This Job and Shove It. His single for the film, “You Made It Beautiful,” was his final single to make an appearance on the music charts.
On July 25, 1995, while en route to Florida for vacation, Charlie Rich passed away in his sleep in a Louisiana motel room. While he was driving the car after he and his wife watched his son’s stage show in Natchez, Mississippi, he experienced a severe coughing bout that gave him cause to visit a medical facility in St. Francisville, Louisiana. He was given antibiotics after briefly seeing a doctor and move on. When he and his wife pulled over to call it a night at a motel in Hammond, he went to sleep and never woke up. Surviving him was his wife of forty-three years, four children, and three grandchildren.
His discographic portfolio proudly has twelve studio albums, eleven compilation albums, and forty-one singles to his. Of those singles, ten of them became number one hits. While the man himself is no more, his music continues to live on as a legacy that still continues to shine today.
Top 10 Charlie Rich Songs
#10 – She Called Me Baby
This 1961 original, “She Called Me Baby,” was a country song first recorded Harlan Howard from his album, Harlan Howard Sings Harlan Howard. It was released in January 1962 and became a breakout hit for him. For Charlie Rich, his 1964 recording didn’t appear on any music charts until 1974, long after he left RCA Victor in favor of Epic Records. It was one of a handful of songs from his former label that finally saw the light of day as he apparently managed to prove that his jazzy style was country enough to find a place in its categorized genre.
At the time of his original recording of “She Called Me Baby” it wasn’t. It was a number one hit on the US Billboard Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, seeming to prove it was country enough after all. It also charted as high as number forty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was a number forty-one hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. For Charlie Rich, his vocal talent was eerily similar to Elvis Presley at times, which was noted many times, mostly in a favorable way.
#9 – I Don’t See Me in Your Eyes Anymore
“I Don’t See Me in Your Eyes Anymore” was a 1949 original first made popular by Gordon Jenkins and His Orchestra. It had since been covered by Gordon Jenkins and Perry Como, both times in the same year. In 1974, along comes the version performed by Charlie Rich, renewing its popularity while he performed it as an R&B Single while signed with Groove Records.
He, along with producer Chet Atkins, produced a prominent style that defined Charlie Rich as an artist at the time. This version became a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Songs chart and was a number nine hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. For Charlie Rich, this single was actually recorded during the mid-1960s, it wasn’t released until he became a bigger name in the industry, thanks to the successful releases of “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl.”
#8 – Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)
The title track from the 1975 album, Every Time You Touch Me, saw a number one hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked at number three and was a number nineteen hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. “Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)” also made an impression on the Kent Music Report belonging to Australia as it charted at number eighty-six. It was during this time the music style of Charlie Rich leaned closer to contemporary styles, drifting slightly away from a style that had him dominate the country music genre for two years. Recorded and performed as a playful love song, the hint of Rich’s jazz background managed to tweak its way to make “Every Time You Touch Me” as an easy listening favorite.
#7 – I Love My Friend
“I Love My Friend” served as Charlie Rich’s fifth number one hit single in a row on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, as well as on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. It also also his third number one hit overall with the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and made a number forty-six appearance on the Kent Music Report of Australia.
It was the first of two singles from his album, The Silver Fox, which was released in 1974, straight off the heels of its award-winning predecessor, Very Special Love Songs. As a pianist, Charlie Rich had a talent that was unmistakable. As a vocalist, this was also the case as his ballads were full of soul, to the point where he was sometimes referred to as a white man’s answer to the R&B genre.
#6 – On My Knees (featuring Janie Fricke)
“On My Knees” was the final number one hit for Charlie Rich as he, along with Janie Fricke, performed this ballad in 1978. While this remarkable love song served as Rich’s final number one single, it marked the first of eight for Fricke. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “On My Knees” was number one and it peaked at number two on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. On the official singles chart belonging to New Zealand, it climbed as high as number eight.
This fantastic lyrical plea from Rich to the love interest in this tale, performed by Fricke, illustrated a heartwarming song that perhaps saw a man see the err of his ways, wanting to reunite with his love interest in hopes their second round at romance will bring back the magic they once shared together.
#5 – Rollin’ With the Flow
In 1977, “Rollin’ With the Flow” was the comeback song Charlie Rich needed to bounce himself back to star-quality level among his peers in the country music industry. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked at number one and it was a number thirty-two hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
This mid-tempo crossover hit came as a lyrical tale from a man’s perspective that has seen his peers raising families of their own while he continues to live a partying lifestyle. It made reference to his faith as a Christian, knowing this sort of behavior isn’t welcome in the eyes of a heavenly host. This was the first single from Charlie Rich that reached the top of a music chart after a 1975 fiasco that seemed to serve as a hint of what made “Rollin’ With the Flow” become a song.
#4 – There Won’t Be Anymore
The 1973 hit single, “There Won’t Be Anymore,” became the third number one hit in a row for Charlie Rich. The saxophone solo served as a jazzy introduction, as well as a mid-song bridge, that illustrated the original music roots that followed Rich into his transition as a country music star. Not only did this song peak at the top of the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it also topped the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, as well as climb as high as number eighteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.
On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, “There Won’t Be Anymore” peaked at number fifteen and it was a number thirty-two hit on Australia’s Kent Music Report. This breakup song saw Rich informing his former love interest she won’t be hearing from him anymore as the message seems to have come across that whatever they shared together is now no more.
#3 – A Very Special Love Song
On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, “A Very Special Love Song” peaked at number one, as well as on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. It was a number eleven hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was the fourth single to make an appearance on Australia’s Kent Music Report as it peaked as high as number twenty-three there. It won a 1975 Grammy Award for Best Country Song. The inspiration behind this song came from “The Summer Knows,” a romantic piano piece that was featured in the 1971 film, Summer of ’42.
#2 – The Most Beautiful Girl
The RIAA-certified gold single, “The Most Beautiful Girl,” became one of Charlie Rich’s signature songs, as well as a Favorite Country Single winner at the 1975 American Music Awards ceremony. It was also instrumental in his 1974 win as Entertainer of the Year with the Country Music Association. Of all his hit singles, “The Most Beautiful Girl” earned the most amount of number one spots on the music charts.
It topped the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, the US Billboard Hot 100, the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart, the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, the RPM Canadian Singles chart, and the RPM Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. On the UK Singles Chart, “The Most Beautiful Girl” peaked at number two, and it was a number three hit in the Netherlands. The Kent Music Report in Australia also charted this single, peaking it as high as number seven.
#1 – Behind Closed Doors
The title track behind the 1973 album, Behind Closed Doors, became one of Charlie Rich’s signature songs as it not only topped the music charts of US Billboard Hot Country Songs and RPM Canadian Country Tracks, but earned him the most amount of music awards he’d ever experience in his career. As a single and as an album, “Behind Closed Doors” earned Rich Album of the Year, Single of the Year, and Top Male Vocalist with the Academy of Country Music.
It also earned him a 1974 recognition by the American Music Awards as Favorite Single. At the Country Music Association awards, he won Album of the Year, Single of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year. “Behind Closed Doors” also earned a 1974 Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male and a 1998 Grammy Hall of Fame Award. It has also since been certified platinum by the RIAA and remains as the best-selling single he’s ever produced.
Not only did “Behind Closed Doors” make an impressive chart run on the country charts, it also peaked at number fifteen on the US Billboard Hot 100, at number eight on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart, and at number sixteen on the official singles chart belonging to the UK. This first-time international hit for Charlie Rich also charted as high as number eighteen in Australia and at number twenty-five in the Netherlands.
Feature Photo: Epic Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Charlie Rich Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.