Charly McClain performing at the Martin County Fair in Stuart, FL on March 9, 1989. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Moore.)
|Birth name||Charlotte Denise McClain|
|Born||March 26, 1956|
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Labels|| Epic Records |
|Associated acts|| Johnny Rodriguez |
Charlotte Denise McClain (born March 26, 1956) is an American country music singer, best known for string of country hits during the 1980s. McClain's biggest hits include "Who's Cheatin' Who," "Sleepin' with the Radio On," and "Radio Heart."
McClain was born March 26, 1956, to Virginia (née Wiggins; 1934-2009) and Niles McClain. The nickname "Charly" would come from the neighborhood friends that she played with as a child. McClain would later go on to use it when she began her career playing hotel lounges. Her first experience recording was when father Niles had tuberculosis when she was eight. As she was under age to comply with hospital visiting policy, she had to communicate with him through a tape recorder.That inspired her interest in recording. She began her musical career at age 12 performing with her brother Mike and their band, Charlotte & The Volunteers. The band would perform together for the next six years. Her first TV appearance was on the local WBBJ morning show in Jackson, Tennessee. By the age of 17, she was a regular on the club circuit, and appeared at the Memphis show Mid-South Jamboree from 1973–1975.
At the age of 20, McClain signed her first recording contract with Epic Records in 1976. McClain's distinct vocal sound provided an edge in recognizability—as did her attractive appearance.
McClain debuted in late 1976 with her first single, "Lay Down," which peaked at No. 67 on the Billboard Country Chart. McClain's initial singles in 1976 and 1977, from her debut album Here's Charly McClain, failed to chart highly on the Country charts.
McClain's second album, Let Me Be Your Baby, was released in 1978. She hit country's Top Ten for the first time in 1978 with "That's What You Do to Me,"followed by two other Top 25 hits, "Let Me Be Your Baby," and "Take Me Back."
In 1979 McClain released Alone Too Long (1979), which included the Top-20 hits "When A Love Ain't Right" and "You're a Part of Me". The Women Get Lonely album followed in 1980, featuring the Top 10 hit "Men", which peaked at No. 7 in 1980, and the Top-20 duet with Johnny Rodriguez, "I Hate the Way I Love It." However, breakthrough success still eluded McClain.
McClain hit No. 1 on the Country charts in 1981 with "Who's Cheatin' Who". This brought McClain breakthrough success for the 1980s. In 1981, McClain scored three Top-10 hits off her Surround Me with Love album: the title track, "Sleepin' with the Radio On", and "The Very Best is You". McClain's albums were beginning to become more successful as well. Her Who's Cheatin' Who album peaked at No. 28 on the Top Country Albums chart, and her 1981 album, Surround Me With Love went to number 9.
In 1983, McClain hit No. 1 with her Mickey Gilley duet "Paradise Tonight." "McClain's and Gilley's duet partnership became so successful, they released a duet album the following year titled It Takes Believers. The record contained the Top-5 hit, "Candy Man" (#5 on the Billboard Country Chart), and the top twenty hit, "The Right Stuff".
McClain also acted, appearing as a guest star on such shows as Hart to Hart (in 1981 episode titled "Rhinestone Harts") and CHiPs (in 1983 episode "Country Action"). McClain's lonely life on the road was also chronicled in a 1981 HBO special titled So You Want to Be a Star.
After having a series of hit singles in 1984, McClain released another best-selling album, Radio Heart in 1985. The album's title track became a No. 1 Country hit in 1985; McClain's last No. 1 to date. The album also spawned two other Top-10 hits that year. McClain married former soap star Wayne Massey in 1984, and their duet "With Just One Look in Your Eyes" reached number five. The third single off the album was also a duet with Massey. It was titled "You Are My Music, You Are My Song". The Radio Heart album peaked at No. 15 on the Top Country Albums chart in 1985. In 1986, Charly and Wayne released a duet album When Love Is Right and the first single "When It's Down to Me and You" peaked at #17.
After 1986, McClain's success began to subside. Her 1987 Still I Stay album brought only one Top 40 single; "Don't Touch Me There" peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Country Chart. The album became McClain's last album with Epic. Upon fulfilling her contract, she parted ways with the record label the following year. She continued to chart until her last recording came in 1989. She recorded one studio album with Mercury Records before the end of the decade. Her last charted single was "You Got the Job", which peaked at No. 65. McClain has not recorded a studio album since 1988's self-titled album on Mercury Records.
Preferring to spend more time with her husband Wayne and their families, McClain retired completely from touring, public appearances, and performances in the early 1990s. Later, she helped to care for her mother Virginia before she died in 2009.
Charly McClain and Wayne Massey have no children together. However, Massey does have a son from his first marriage.
Several compilation albums of McClain's music have been released over the years. Probably the most noteworthy of these is 1999's Anthology. It included all of McClain's successful singles from her career with Epic. She continues to reside with her husband Wayne in the Memphis, Tennessee, area.
Mickey Leroy Gilley is an American country music singer and musician. Although he started out singing straight-up country and western material in the 1970s, he moved towards a more pop-friendly sound in the 1980s, bringing him further success on not just the country charts, but the pop charts as well. Among his biggest hits are "Room Full of Roses," "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time," and the remake of the Soul hit "Stand by Me". Gilley has charted 42 singles in the top 40 on the US Country chart. He is a cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl McVoy, Jim Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart.
Johnny Lee is an American country music singer. His 1980 single "Lookin' for Love" became a crossover hit, spending three weeks at number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart while also appearing in the Top 5 on the Billboard Pop chart and Top 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. He racked up a total of 17 top 40 country hits in the early and mid-1980s.
"You Don't Know Me" is a song written by Cindy Walker based on a title and storyline given to her by Eddy Arnold in 1955. "You Don't Know Me" was first recorded by Arnold that year and released as a single on April 21, 1956 on RCA Victor. The first version of the song to make the Billboard charts was by Jerry Vale in 1956, peaking at #14 on the pop chart. Arnold's version charted two months later, released as an RCA Victor single, 47-6502, backed with "The Rockin' Mockin' Bird", which reached #10 on the Billboard country chart. Cash Box magazine, which combined all best-selling versions at one position, included a version by Carmen McRae that never appeared in the Billboard Top 100 Sides listing.
"Cold, Cold Heart" is a country music and pop song recorded by Hank Williams. This blues ballad is both a classic of honky-tonk and an entry in the Great American Songbook.
Ollie Imogene "Jean" Shepard was an American honky tonk singer-songwriter who pioneered for women in country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart, one of which reached the No. 1 spot. She recorded a total of 24 studio albums between 1956–81, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955.
"Make the World Go Away'" is a country pop song composed by Hank Cochran. It has become a Top 40 popular success three times: for Timi Yuro, for Eddy Arnold (1965), and for the brother-sister duo Donny and Marie Osmond (1975). The original version of the song was recorded by Ray Price during 1963. It has remained a country crooner standard ever since.
Melba Montgomery is an American country music singer. She is best known for her duet recordings in the 1960s with country music star George Jones and later Charlie Louvin. Her brother is the famous country music songwriter, Earl "Peanutt" Montgomery.
Lari Michele White Cannon was an American country music artist and actress. She first gained national attention in 1988 as a winner on You Can Be a Star, a talent competition which aired on The Nashville Network. A recording contract with RCA Records Nashville followed a year later, producing three studio albums, a greatest hits package, and several chart singles, with three of her singles having reached Top Ten: "That's My Baby" and "That's How You Know " at No. 10, and "Now I Know" at No. 5. A fourth studio album was released in 1998 on Lyric Street Records, followed by two more releases on her own label, Skinny White Girl. Overall, White charted twelve times on the Billboard country music charts. White was also married to Nashville-based songwriter Chuck Cannon.
Everything I Love is the sixth studio album by American country music artist Alan Jackson. It was released on October 29, 1996 and produced six singles for Jackson on the Hot Country Songs charts: the Number One hits "Little Bitty" and "There Goes", Top Ten hits in the title track, "Between the Devil and Me", and "Who's Cheatin' Who", and the #18 "A House with No Curtains", his first single since 1989's "Blue Blooded Woman" to miss the Top Ten. It is the only album of Jackson's career to produce six singles.
"Touch Me When We're Dancing" is a song written by Terry Skinner, J. L. Wallace and Ken Bell. Skinner and Wallace headed the Muscle Shoals, Alabama session group Bama, who first recorded this song and released it as a single in 1979 reaching number 42 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart and number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was later recorded by The Carpenters in 1981 for their Made in America album. In 1984, it was recorded by country music artists Mickey Gilley and Charly McClain for their 1984 duet album It Takes Believers and in 1986 by the country music group Alabama.
"It's Too Late to Love Me Now" is a song written by Gene Dobbins, Rory Bourke, and Johnny Wilson. Since its composition, the song has been covered as a single by various artists from the country and pop musical genres. It was first released as a single by country artist, Charly McClain in 1977.
"Who's Cheatin' Who" is a country music song written by Jerry Hayes and initially recorded by Charly McClain. It was the title track of her 1980 album for Epic Records, released in November 1980 as a single with "Love Scenes" on the B-side, and in early 1981, was her first Number One hit on the Billboard country charts. 17 years later, Alan Jackson had chart success with the song as well, with his cover version reaching Top Five on the country charts. In January of 2020 the song was covered again and released as a single by the Vermont Rock and Roll band Third Shift.
Donald Wayne Massey is an American country music artist and actor. He is best known for playing the role of country/rock music superstar Johnny Drummond on the American daytime soap opera One Life to Live from 1980 to 1984. Massey is also known for his musical collaboration with his wife, country music singer Charly McClain, with whom he charted four duets between 1985 and 1986. He released eleven singles of his own, but never reached the Top 40 alone.
"Paradise Tonight" is a song written by Bill Kenner and Mark Wright, and recorded by American country music artists Charly McClain and Mickey Gilley. It was released in June 1983 as the second single from the album Paradise. The song was the most successful of three releases by McClain and Gilley as a duo. The single went to number one for one week and stayed a total of thirteen weeks on the top 40 country chart.
"Sleepin' with the Radio On" is a song written by Stephen Allen Davis, and recorded by American country music artist Charly McClain. It was released in August 1981 as the second single from the album Surround Me with Love. The song reached #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
"With Just One Look in Your Eyes" is a song written by Stephen Allen Davis and Dennis Morgan, and recorded by American country music artists Charly McClain and Wayne Massey. It was released in July 1985 as the second single from the album Radio Heart. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
"You Are My Music, You Are My Song" is a song written by David Erwin and Jim Carter, and recorded by American country music artists Charly McClain and Wayne Massey. It was released in November 1985 as the third single from the album Radio Heart. The song reached #10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
The singles discography of American country music singer Reba McEntire consists of 123 singles.
"When It's Down to Me and You" is a song written by Stephen Allen Davis and Dennis Morgan, and recorded by American country music artists Charly McClain and Wayne Massey. It was released in March 1986 as the first single from the album When Love Is Right. The song reached #17 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
"They'll Never Take Her Love from Me" is a country song popularized by Hank Williams in 1950. In 1961, Johnny Horton also had a hit with the song, and many others have covered it.