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    Ray Price

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    Rank:1318 history »
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    Most Popular Songs (more)

    City Lights lyrics
    2Night Watch lyrics
    3Over lyrics
    4Pretend lyrics
    5Under Your Spell Again lyrics
    6Funny How Time Slips Away lyrics
    7Lil' Liza Jane lyrics
    8Rubber Dolly lyrics
    9It Came Upon a Midnight Clear lyrics
    10Faith lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    1Night Life [Koch] [1962]
    2San Antonio Rose [Columbia] [1962]
    3Ray Price Sings Heart Songs [Columbia] [1957]
    4Faith [Columbia] [1960]
    5Night Life [Columbia] [1963]
    6Ray Price - 17 Top Ten Hits [1961]
    7Ray Price's Greatest Hits 1 [1961]
    8The Same Old Me [CSP] [1963]
    9Beauty Is...: The Final Sessions
    10Talk to Your Heart [Columbia] [1958]


    Ray Price has covered — and kicked up — as much musical
    turf as any country singer of the postwar era. He's been
    lionized as the man who saved hard country when Nashville
    went pop, and vilified as the man who went pop when hard
    country was starting to call it's own name with pride. Actually,
    he was — and still is — no more than a musically ambitious
    singer, always looking for the next challenge for a voice that
    could bring down roadhouse walls. Circa 1949, Price cut his
    first record for Bullet at the Famous Jim Beck in Dallas. In
    1951, he was picked up by Columbia, the label for which he
    would record for more than twenty years. After knocking
    around in Lefty Frizzell's camp for six months or so (his first
    Columbia single was a Frizzell composition) Price befriended
    Hank Williams. The connection brought him to the Opry and
    profoundly effected his singing style. After Hank died, Price
    starting stretching out more as a singer and arranger. His
    experimentation culminated in the 4/4-bass driven "Crazy
    Arms," the country song of the year for 1956. The intensely
    rhythmic sound he discovered with "Crazy Arms" would
    dominate his — and much of country in general's — music for
    the next six years. To this day, people in Nashville refer to a
    4/4 country shuffle as the "Ray Price beat." Heavy on fiddle,
    steel, and high tenor harmony, his country work from the
    late '50s is as lively as the rock & roll of the same era. Price
    tired of that sound, however, and started messing around
    with strings. His lush 1967 version of "Danny Boy," and his
    1970 take on Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good Times,"
    were, in their crossover way, landmark records. But few of
    his old fans appreciated the fact. In the three decades
    following "For the Good Times," Price's career was often an
    awkward balancing act in which twin Texas fiddles are
    weighed against orchestras.

    Born in tiny Perryville, Texas, Price spent most of his youth
    in Dallas. It was there where he learned how to play guitar
    and sing. Following his high-school graduation, he studied
    veterinary medicine at North Texas Agricultural College in
    Abilene before he left school to join the Marines in 1942.
    Price stayed in the service throughout World War II, returing
    to Texas in 1946. After leaving the Marines, he initially
    returned to college, yet he began to perform at local clubs
    and honky tonks, as well as on the local radio station KRBC,
    where he was dubbed the Cherokee Cowboy. Three years
    later, he was invited to join the Dallas-based The Big D
    Jamboree, which convinced him to make music his full-time
    career. Shortly after joining The Big D Jamboree, the show
    began to be televised by CBS, which helped him release a
    single, "Your Wedding Corsage" / "Jealous Lies," on the
    independent Dallas label Bullet.

    Price moved to Nashville to pursue a major-label record
    contract in 1951. After auditioning and failing several time,
    Ray finally signed to Columbia Records, after A&R
    representative Troy Martin convinced the label's chief
    executive Don Law that Decca was prepared to give the
    singer a contract. Previously, Law was uninterested in Price
    — he turned him down 20 times and threatened Martin never
    to mention his name again — but he was unprepared to give
    a rival company a chance at the vocalist. Just before "Talk to
    Your Heart" became a number three hit for Price in the
    spring of 1952, Ray met his idol, Hank Williams, who
    immediately became a close friend. Over the next year,
    Hank performed a number of favors for Price, including
    giving him "Weary Blues" to record and helping him join the
    Grand Ole Opry. Ray also became the permanent substitute
    for Hank whenever he was missing or too drunk to perform.
    Following Williams' death in 1953, Price inherited the Drifting

    Following the success of "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your
    Eyes" in the fall of 1952, Price was quiet for much of 1953. It
    wasn't until 1954 that he returned to the charts with "I'll Be
    There (If You Ever Want Me)," a number two hit which kicked
    off a successful year for Price that also included the Top Ten
    singles "Release Me" and "If You Don't, Somebody Else Will."
    Instead of capitalzing on that success, he disappeared from
    the charts during 1955, as he spent the year forming the
    Cherokee Cowboys. Over the course of the past two years,
    he had realized that performing with the Drifting Cowboys
    had made him sound too similar to Hank Williams, so he
    decided to form his own group. Originally, most of the
    members were lifted from Lefty Frizzell's Western
    Cherokees, but over the years a number of gifted musicians
    began their careers in this band, including Roger Miller,
    Johnny Paycheck, Buddy Emmons, Johnny Bush and Willie

    Ray returned to the charts in 1956, first with "Run Boy" and
    then with "Crazy Arms," a driving honky tonk number that
    immediately became a country classics. The song was one of
    the first country records to be recorded with a drum kit,
    which gave it a relentless, pulsating rhythm. Until Price, most
    country artists were reluctant to use drums and the
    instrument was even banned from the stage of the Grand Ole
    Opry. The blockbuster status of the single helped change that
    situation. Spending an astonishing 20 weeks at the top of the
    country charts, "Crazy Arms" not only crossed over into the
    lower reaches of the pop charts, but it also established Price
    as a star. After the success of the single, he remained at or
    near the top of the charts for the next ten years, racking up
    23 Top Ten singles between the 1956 and 1966. During this
    time, he recorded a remarkable number of country classics,
    including "I've Got a New Heartache" (#2, 1956), "My Shoes
    Keep Walking Back to You" (#1, 1957), "Make the World Go
    Away" (#2, 1963) and "City Lights," which spent 13 weeks at
    the top of the charts in 1958.

    The momentum of Price's career had slowed somewhat by
    the mid-'60s; though he was still having hits, they weren't as
    frequent nor as big. His musical inclinations were also
    shifting, bringing him closer to the crooning styles of
    traditional pop singers. Ray abandoned the cowboy suits and
    brought in strings to accompany him, making him one of the
    first to explore the smooth, orchestrated sounds of late '60s
    and early '70s country-pop. While it alienated some hardcore
    honky tonk fans, the change in approach resulted in another
    round of Top Ten hits. However, it took a little while for the
    country audience to warm to this new sound — it wasn't until
    1970, when his cover of Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good
    Times" hit number one, that he returned to the top of the
    charts. Over the next three years, he scored an additional
    three number one singles ("I Won't Mention It Again," "She's
    Got to Be a Saint," "You're the Best Thing That Ever
    Happened to Me").

    By the mid-'70s, the appeal of his string-laden country-pop
    hits had diminished, and he spent the rest of the decade
    struggling to get into the charts. In 1974, he left his long
    -time home of Columbia Records to sign to Myrrh, where he
    had two Top Ten hits over the next year. By the end of 1975,
    he had left the label, signing to ABC/Dot. Though he hadn't
    changed his style, his records became less popular around
    the same time he signed to ABC/Dot; only 1977's "Mansion
    on the Hill" gained much attention. In 1978, he switched
    labels again, signing with Monument, which proved to be
    another unsuccessful venture. In 1980, Price reunited with
    his old bassist Willie Nelson, recording the duet album San
    Antonio Rose, which was a major success, spawning the
    number three hit "Faded Love." San Antonio Rose reignited
    Ray's career, and in 1981 he had two Top Ten singles — "It
    Don't Hurt Me Half as Bad," "Diamonds in the Stars" — for his
    new label, Dimension. Price left Dimension in 1983, signing
    with Warner Records. He remained at the label for one year,
    and by that time, his new spell of popularity had cooled down
    considerably; now, he was having trouble reaching the Top
    40. That situation didn't remedy itself for the remainder of
    the decade, even though he signed with two new labels: Viva
    (1983-1984) and Step One (1985-1989).

    By the late '80s, Ray Price had stopped concentrating on
    recording and had turned his efforts toward a theater he
    owned in Branson, Missouri. For most of the '90s, he sang
    and performed at his theater in Branson, occasionally
    stopping to record. Of all of his '90s records, the most
    notable was the 1992 album Sometimes a Rose, which was
    produced by Norro Wilson.

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