5 things you didn’t know about Charlie Rich

10 Jan

In 1958 Charlie Rich joined Sun Records as a studio musician to begin what would be a 37 year career as a singer/songwriter. His career would have many highs and lows as Mr. Rich changed his music styles and record labels over the years. With each of these changes he saw some success but nothing like the success he had in the early 1970’s. It was in that decade that he recorded the two songs, “The most beautiful girl” and “Behind closed doors”, that would became the biggest hits of his career. After the mid 1970’s he still had some minor success in writing movie themes, the occasional hit, and a couple of cameos in movies. Throughout all of these ups and downs of his career he remained popular with his fans.

Beyond all the great music that Mr. Rich produced in his career there were many events that shaped the lie and death of the man that would become known as the “Silver Fox”. The following are just five of those events:

He grew up on a cotton farm

Charlie Rich grew up in the 1930’s on his parents cotton farm in rural Arkansas. It was during his youth that he had many of his musical influences. The first of these influences was his mother who played piano and his father who sang in the local baptist church. He was also influenced by one of the sharecroppers on their farm that taught how to play Blues on the piano.

He hone his craft while in the United States Air Force

Charlie Rich dropped out of college in 1953 to enlist in the United States Air Force. It was during his three years of serving that he formed the Jazz/Blues band the Velvetones.

He set fire to an award letter at the CMA

In 1975 the Academy of Country Music had chosen Mr. Rich to present the award for entertainer of the year. When Mr. Rich came up to the stage to make his presentation it was quite apparent that he was drunk. Despite his condition everything seemed to be going fine when he announced the nominees. It was when he asked for the envelop with the winners’ name that Mr. Rich did something that shocked everyone. He opened up the envelop, took out the slip with the winning name, and lit it on fire.

He went into a semi-retirement

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Mr. Rich saw a big drop off in his career. Then, in 1981 he decided to just walk away. His semi-retirement lasted until 1992 when Mr. Rich came back to the recording studio to make “Pictures and Paintings”.

He died in the Summer of 1995

In the Summer of 1995 Mr. Rich and hi wife had traveled to Mississippi to watch one of their son preform. On their way back to Florida the couple stopped at a hotel in Hammond, Louisiana. On the night of July 25, 1995 Mr. Rich passed away in his sleep.


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