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Sonny James, country music star with 23 #1 singles dies... [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum


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Ash Ketchum
02-24-16, 07:37 AM
I like to read obits of musicians because you learn a lot about the music industry and its history that way and I'm also fascinated by the connections musicians make with other musicians in the course of their lives. It's one of the few art forms where someone obscure but blessed with outsized talent and skill can wield surprising influence and enhance the work of so many better-known talents.


In today's New York Times, there's an obit of Sonny James, aged 87, who had a string of #1 hits on the country charts (with some making inroads on the pop charts) from the 1950s to the 1970s. He often sang country covers of pop, R&B and blues hits. He was a friend of Nat "King" Cole, who was, like James, signed with Capitol Records.

I'm disappointed that I'd never heard of Mr. James. He sounds like someone who should have had a big enough profile during my top-40 listening years that he should have crossed my radar at some point. Granted, country music didn't have a fan base in the Bronx in those years (nor at any point since) and when I thumbed through LPs and 45's in my local record stores, few country performers could be found. I actually dabbled in country music (listening) briefly in the summer of 1977 after discovering a country music station on the dial (can't recall if it was AM or FM). But I was more musically adventurous back then.


02-24-16, 07:56 AM
I know "Young Love" but only because it was a #1 Top 40 hit in 1957 (it was on the old but excellent compilation by Time-Life called Senior Prom).

He only had one other Top 40 hit that peaked at #25 called "First Date, First Kiss, First Love."

02-24-16, 08:16 AM
"Young Love" was one song that defined that era. RIP Sonny.

02-25-16, 07:21 AM
I thought he did "Running Bear". The song with indian tom toms.

02-25-16, 08:31 AM
I thought he did "Running Bear". The song with indian tom toms.

Thats right he did! It was one of his cover songs - I forgot about that.

"During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Sonny James enjoyed an unprecedented streak of success with his commercially released singles, many of them covers of previous pop hits. One of his 16 consecutive No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart was a cover version of "Running Bear." Released in April 1969, James' topped the Hot Country Singles chart in mid-June and spent three weeks at No. 1. The song soon was one of James' most popular recordings of his career."

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