“Wichita Lineman” was written by Jim Webb and recorded in 1968 by Glenn Campbell (b. 1936). It’s a ballad, but it’s still a country song, and a beautiful one (there are two more Glenn Campbell songs to go on my list, more than any other artist’s). One of my friends in college was in fact a lineman in the Midwest, and said that the song perfectly expressed what goes through one’s mind when climbing poles alone on the prairie, and in love.
Charlie Rich, aka “The Silver Fox” (1932-1995) is most famous for the song below: “Behind Closed Doors,” written by Kenny O’Dell and recorded by Rich in 1973. It nabbed him two Country Music Awards and a Grammy for best male country performance. It’s a great song, with wonderful piano accompaniment.
There are some songs that grow on you, and start off okay but eventually turn into favorites (“A day in the life” by the Beatles was one of those for me), and there are some songs that you know on first hearing are fantastic. This is one of those. I was stunned the first time I heard LeAnn Rimes (b. 1982) sing “I Need You,” and realized instantly that it was a classic, worthy of sitting next to all the great songs of country music. Yes, it’s country-pop, but so what?
This is not a romantic love song, but a Christian song; the love object here is Jesus. But it’s still a fantastic song, recorded in 2000 Rimes was only 18, and released on the album Jesus: Music From and Inspired by the Epic Mini-Series.
I know the readers are weighing in with their suggestions, criticisms, and the like, and that’s great. Do remember that I don’t listen to a lot of country music, and what reaches me comes largely through its overlap with pop/rock.