Now there was a song: Charlie Rich

ZZ Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich/photo submitted

By Doug Davis

This week in 1974: George Steinbrenner pled guilty to illegal use of corporate funds for campaign contributions; President Ford signed a bill creating a special agency to monitor wages and prices; Soviet Soyuz 15 spacecraft was put in orbit headed for a meeting with the space station; and a singer from Colt, Arkansas had his 17th hit record.

A lot of songs just never accomplish what the writers thought it would—or should. According to Norro Wilson, The Charlie Rich 1974 number one “I Love My Friend” was just one of those tunes.

Norro commented, “Billy Sherrill and I wrote that song. And we kind of thought we did a masterpiece with it. However, the song might have been just a little bit too heavy. It’s about a relationship with a guy and some gal and we might have been a little too tacky with some of our thoughts. But it really wasn’t meant to be that way. But we both loved the melody to that song and we loved what we wrote. Now the song didn’t do what we thought it would—or should—have done. But, you know, that happens on a daily basis.”

Rich’s Epic Record single “I Love My Friend” made the country charts August 10, 1974 and made it to number one. It was his 17th charted song and was on the charts for 15 weeks.

Rich was born in Colt, Ark. in 1932. By the 1950s he was in the U.S. Air Force and leading his own jazz group known as The Silvertones. In 1958 he worked on recording sessions for Sun Records. His first record success came in 1968 when his Epic Record single “Set Me Free” peaked at number 44.

Between 1968 and 1981, Rich placed forty five songs on the country music charts, including nine number ones. Twelve of his 45 charted country singles also scored on the pop music charts.

Charlie Rich died in July 1995 at age 62.

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