This Top 10 Statler Brothers Songs list presents the best Statler Brothers Songs including “Flowers on the Wall” “Bed of Rose’s” and more. The Statlers began their career as performers from their hometown of Staunton, Virginia as The Four Star Quartet, mainly singing at Lyndhurst Methodist Church before joining Johnny Cash for in 1964 as his opening act, singing backup vocals. This continued until 1972 and were regulars on The Johnny Cash Show that ran from 1969 until 1971. As the popularity of the The Statlers opened up opportunities for the quartet, they opted to pursue a career on their own as a group. The parting of the ways between The Statlers and Johnny Cash was on good terms.
From the mid-1970s onward, The Statler Brothers continued to see their star rise, reaching the peak of their musical career during the 1980s as mainstream country favorites on network television. On The Nashville Network, The Statler Brothers seemed to follow the same footsteps of their mentor as they now had a variety show of their own. From 1991 until 1998, The Statler Brothers Show was the network’s highest-rated program throughout its seven year run. Thanks to the mix of comedy and parody into their music, this was the big draw that kept the audience come back for more. Often, they were nominated for their comedy and singing by a variety of film and television industries that recognized their work as star quality.
Despite the crossover into country music, The Statler Brothers never lost touch with their gospel roots. This was made evident in their music, as well as in their television appearances over the years. Even in their comedy bits, there was a level of decency about the group that made them so appealing to the fans. Even when they assumed the pseudo name of Lester “Roadhog” Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys to release two comedy albums, they never departed from what made them become big stars to begin with.
The Statler Brothers Legacy
At the height of their popularity, The Statler Brothers purchased and renovated their old elementary school in Staunton in 1980. Beverly Manor was converted as a complex that featured offices for the group, as well as an auditorium, museum, and office space for unrelated businesses. There was a garage built to accommodate two of the group’s heavily used tour buses. When this complex was sold a second time, it went to Staunton’s Grace Christian Church where it once again became an educational facility.
From 1970 until 1995, the Statler Brothers performed at the annual Independence Day festival held in Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park. Aside from The Statlers, Mel Tillis and Charley Pride were among many country stars who performed at the event, bringing in thousands of fans year after year.
On August 15, 1990, Lew DeWitt passed away due to complications that stemmed from his Crohn’s Disease. This was partly the reason why he retired from The Statler Brothers in 1982 and was replaced by Jimmy Fortune. Three years after his retirement, he returned as a soloist before the disease caught up with him. He died at fifty-two years of age. Almost ten years later, Harold Reid passed away at the age of eighty on April 24, 2020 after succumbing to a long-time battle with kidney failure.
In 2002, The Statler Brothers disbanded and retired on October 26, 2002 after completing their farewell tour. The surviving original members of The Statlers, Don Reid and Phil Balsley, continue to reside in their hometown of Staunton, Virginia. Reid has since pursued a writing career that has six books written by him. Jimmy Fortune currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, and continues his career as a solo artist. As a group, The Statlers have remained as one of the most awarded musical artists in the country music genre’s history.
The impressive discography of The Statler Brothers feature thirty-eight studio albums, five compilation albums, two live albums, ten music videos, and sixty-nine singles where four of them became number one hits on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Nine of the studio albums produced by The Statler Brothers became certified gold sellers by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and their Christmas album, Christmas Card, was certified platinum.
Top 10 The Statler Brothers Songs
#10 – Who Am I to Say
Written by Harold Reid’s daughter, Kim, “Who Am I to Say” was a single The Statler Brothers released in 1978 as the second single from the album, Entertainers…On and Off the Records. It became a number three hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and a number sixty hit on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. This great tune about wishing to have done a few things differently before losing that someone special was a song that may have struck home among listeners who could relate. This classic song of “should have and could have” was loaded with regret once it was realized whoever the narrator lost was not coming back.
#9 – Don’t Wait on Me
“Don’t Wait on Me” was the first single released in 1981 from the album, Years Ago. It peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and a number thirty-six hit on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. Between Don Reid and Lew DeWitt, the two trade the call and response vocals during the verses of this breakup acknowledgement song.
With rather colorful statements such as “when pigs fly” and tattoo-free sailors, along with Chicago no longer experiencing any wind, this cheeky song served as an entire statement that there was no chance there was to be a rekindling of a romance lost in the foreseeable future. There were several cultural references made that this song highly favored among the fans of The Statler Brothers as they could relate to the story and some of the candid statements that were subtly made in the song. “Don’t Wait on Me” was a classic performance, portraying the group’s trademark hint of gospel meets traditional country at their best.
#8 – The Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell
Released in November 1978, “The Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell” was the third and final single from the album, Entertainers…On and Off the Record. This musical recollection of various details regarding the life of Shirley Jean Berrell came as an uptempo tale told by the Don and Harold Reid of the Statler Brothers. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, this single peaked at number five while on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart at number seven. By the end of the song, it was revealed the only thing the narrator doesn’t know about Shirley Jean Berrell was her current whereabouts.
#7 – We Got Paid by Cash
“We Got Paid by Cash” was a tribute song, paying homage to Johnny Cash. It was he who discovered The Statler Brothers, mentored them, and served as a key influence to their crossover into country music. This catchy and biographical country song was all about the history this group shared with Johnny Cash when they first met him and he took them to Nashville, Tennessee, under his wing. In this remarkable tribute song, The Statler Brothers admitted the value they placed on Johnny Cash meant more to them as a mentor than how they were paid. This song came from the album, 10th Anniversary, which was released in 1980, ten years after The Statler Brothers first signed up with Mercury Records.
#6 – Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?
“Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?” was the first number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for The Statler Brothers after it was released in 1978. It was the first single from the album, Entertainers…On and Off the Road. On the RPM Canadian Country Tracks it was a number five hit. The subject of this toe-tapping classic was a woman who seemed to rival in brightness as the sun itself, at least according to the narrator as he sang about her.
#5 – Elizabeth
In 1984, “Elizabeth” became the second number one hit for The Statler Brothers on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. On the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart it was a number twelve hit. From the album, Today, “Elizabeth” was the third of its three hit singles that appeared on the country music charts and the best performant. In addition to peaking at number one, it remained as a chart hit for a total of thirteen weeks. “Elizabeth” was written by Jimmy Fortune, who replaced Lew DeWitt.
For Fortune, he was inspired to write the tune after watching Elizabeth Taylor’s film, Giant. While at the show there was a young girl who happened to introduce herself as Elizabeth. Later, The Statler Brothers performed this song for the legendary actress herself on her fifty-second birthday. “Elizabeth” was also the first single to feature Fortune as the lead vocalist.
#4 – Too Much on My Heart
The fourth and final number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart was “Too Much on My Heart.” It was released in 1985 from the album, Pardners in Rhyme, while The Statler Brothers was still at the height of their fame as a frequent chart-hitter on The Nashville Network. This remarkable ballad performed by The Statler Brothers was a heartfelt acknowledgement of a once strong romance falling into the threat of a breakup. Not sure where to start, the narrator looks for a solution to regain the magic that was lost between them, hoping his love interest was willing to do the same.
#3 – My Only Love
On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “My Only Love” peaked at number one in 1985 and it was a number three hit on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks. It was the third and final single from the 1984 album, Atlanta Blue. This beautiful ballad almost instantly became a favorite among the fans and was often a song of choice at weddings, chosen by couples who felt it was perfect as a first dance number for newlyweds. The share of love and appreciation expressed in “My Only Love” remains as an all-time classic by The Statler Brothers.
#2 – Bed of Rose’s
The socially conscious “Bed of Rose’s” was released during the fall of 1970 as the first single from the album also titled Bed of Rose’s. During the winter of 1971, it reached the height of its popularity as a number nine hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it became a crossover hit by charting as high as number fifty-eight. It’s appeal also stretched into Australia as it peaked as high as number fifty-one.
In this lyrical tale, a small town orphaned gentleman has been deemed an outcast by a certain class of society and has to resort to life as a beggar on the streets. This ultimately led him to an older street woman named Rose who takes him in and the two become lovers. In the song, all of the seven deadly sins Christians are supposed to be wary of are blatantly exercised by a religious community who treated the outcasts with the exact same attitude the Pharisees of the Holy Bible’s New Testament did against members of society whom they also judged against, including Jesus Christ himself.
#1 – Flowers on the Wall
“Flowers on the Wall” was the first big hit for The Statlers and has since become one of the group’s signature songs. It became a number two hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, as well as in New Zealand, and a number four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 as of January 1966. On the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart “Flowers on the Wall” peaked at the very top and it also made a strong enough impression in South Africa to peak at number seven.
In the UK, “Flowers on the Wall” became a number thirty-eight hit. Also, a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance – Group (Vocal or Instrumental) was won, thanks to the creative concept of smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo, at least according to the unconventional lyrics. Hey, don’t worry about The Statlers Brothers’ at all. For as long as there’s “Flowers on the Wall,” they’re good.
Top 10 Statler Brothers Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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