Top 10 Robert Cray Songs

Robert Cray Songs

Our top 10 Robert Cray songs list looks at the catalog of an American artist famed for his influence in the blues and soul scene. Born in 1953, Robert Cray’s music career started when he was a student. He was a member of The One-Way Street band. Robert Cray used to go to concerts where he met some of his influences, including Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, and Freddie King. After his teen years, he felt ripe to start his band.

Pursuing music under his band would allow him to explore music as he wished without much restrictions. Robert formed the Robert Cray Band in the late ’70s. He would front his band, taking the lead vocalist role. Like Freddie King, B.B. King, and most legendary blues artists, Robert Cray was also a guitarist in his band. Surprisingly, Robert showcased more skills in his music career by taking on the bass roles (though uncredited) in 1978 for the one-time band Otis Day and The Knights. The band was formed to perform in the comedy film National Lampoon’s Animal House.

After signing a record contract with Tomato Records, Robert Cray was ready to release his long-awaited debut album. Who’s Been Talkin’ (1980) was the title to Robert Cray’s debut album. Sadly, the album failed to chart and almost became unnoticeable. While some might be quick to point at the rookie mistakes that Robert Cray might have made, this is far from the truth. Very few blues debut albums can sound like Who’s Been Talkin’ (1980). However, Tomato Records was undergoing bankruptcy at the album’s release. Therefore, very few people turned their eyes at what the label released during this period.

Robert Cray didn’t give up on his dreams of becoming a reputable blues artist. Instead, he signed to HighTone Records, releasing two studio albums under this label. These albums were Bad Influence (1983) and False Accusations (1985). Fans and critics received both albums received positively. Thanks to this, Robert Cray received moderate success in the US.

Amazingly, the two albums managed to enter the Billboard 200. This allowed Robert Cray to connect with reputable artists, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins. Mercury Records signed Robert Cray and released his fourth studio album, Strong Persuader (1986). The album won a Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary Blues Recording. Strong Persuader (1986) surpassed albums from B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Earl King. The win helped Robert Cray take his place as a legendary blues artist.

Robert Cray’s name was now prevalent in the blues scene. As a result of his burgeoning career and fame, Robert Cray was invited for projects by Ted Hawkins, Keith Richards, and Tina Turner. His follow-up album Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark (1988) went on to win a Grammys for the Best Contemporary Blues Recording. This made him one of the few artists to a Grammys under that category back-to-back.

Throughout his career, Robert Cray has interacted with award-winning artists, including Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and Jimmie Vaughan. Thanks to his accompanying band, Robert has been nominated for sixteen Grammy Awards, winning five. In 2011, Robert was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. He received the Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance six years later. We now present you with the best Robert Cray songs of all time.

#10- Acting This Way

Opening our top 10 Robert Cray songs is the hit “Acting This Way.” The song is featured on the Grammy Award-winning album Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark (1988). Very few blues songs can match the energy of this upbeat melodic hit from Robert Cray. A saxophone solo is featured in the middle of the song. This serves as a perfect break for Robert Cray to catch a breath after an awe-inspiring vocal delivery. “Acting This Way” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by A Duo or Group with Vocal category in 1988.

#9- She’s Gone

“She’s Gone” is a glorious release from Robert Cray’s album, False Accusations (1985). The song came after Robert Cray had achieved success with his previous release, Bad Influence (1983). The song was penned by Robert Cray, David Amy, Peter Boe, and Ozall Washington. “She’s Gone” is delivered from the perspective of a guy who seems to be having it all wrong with relationships. He admits that he has an ex-wife already with another just about to add to the list. Steelheart, a US-based glam metal band, released a song with a similar title in 1990.

#8- Will You Think of Me

Some Rainy Morning (1995) was the second last album Robert Cray released under Mercury Records. While the album failed to achieve mainstream success compared to other albums before it, Some Rainy Morning (1995) still featured great songs. “Will You Think of Me” is one of the musical gems from the album.

Robert Cray stamps his place in the blues scene as one of the most expressive artists and entertainers. He gets this done thanks to his emotion-filled vocal delivery and awe-inspiring guitar licks. In “Will You Think of Me,” Robert Cray attempts a falsetto. While his falsetto vocals may not match Prince, Thom Yorke, or Jeff Buckley’s, we can call it a fair attempt.

#7- Bad Influence

“Bad Influence” is one of the brightest stars from Robert Cray’s sophomore album. Bad Influence (1983) received some mainstream success thanks to the song. The song brings the best songwriting skills from Robert Cray and Mike Vannice. “Bad Influence” was covered by Eric Clapton, who featured his version on August (1986).

#6- Time Makes Two

Number six on our top 10 Robert Cray songs is the golden hit “Time Makes Two.” The song is featured on the album Time Will Tell (2003). Soul blues never sounded better than in “Time Makes Two.” The song’s lyrics showcase time’s true potential, from making, breaking to healing! Besides an emotive performance, Robert Cray delivers a superb guitar solo that almost communicates his emotions when performing this soul-blues hit.

#5- Consequences

“Consequences” is one of the reputable songs from Robert Cray’s album Midnight Stroll (1990). Released under Mercury Records, Midnight Stroll (1990) peaked at number fifty-one on the Billboard 200. The album sold over five hundred million copies. “Consequences” performed great on the charts, rising to number thirty-two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.

#4- The Forecast (Calls for Pain)

Like out number four, “The Forecast (Calls for Pain)” managed to chart on the Billboard Mainstream Rock, managing position eleven on the chart. “The Forecast (Calls for Pain)” was also featured on the album Midnight Stroll (1990). David Plenn and Dennis Walker penned its lyrics. “The Forecast (Calls for Pain)” alludes to a relationship whose end is near.

#3- Right Next Door (Because of Me)

“Right Next Door (Because of Me)” is a musical gem from the Grammy award-winning album Strong Persuader (1986). Robert Cray revealed that the song is about bassist Richard Cousins, who was guilty of seducing his neighbor’s wife. Apparently, he overheard the neighbor and his wife arguing over the cheating claims. The song peaked at number eighty on the Billboard Hot 100. On the UK Singles Chart, “Right Next Door (Because of Me)” rose to position fifty.

#2- Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark

“Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark” is the album title hit of Robert Cray’s fifth studio album. While the album failed to replicate exact measures of success set by Strong Persuader (1986), it managed a Grammy Award. “Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark” rose to the fourth position on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. On the Billboard Hot 100, “Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark” reached position seventy-four.

#1- Smoking Gun

Number one on our top 10 Robert Cray songs list is the hit “Smoking Gun.” The song is featured on the Grammy award-winning album Strong Persuader (1986). This uptempo song is famed for its contemporary blues feel that helps respect traditional blues vibes while appreciating the cheerfulness of modern blues. “Smoking Gun” alludes to the central theme of the album Strong Persuader (1986), infidelity. The song delivered the best performance for a Robert Cray song on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number twenty-two.

Photo: Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock

Top 10 Robert Cray Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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