Earl Thomas Conley

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Earl Thomas Conley
ETC country singer in concert.jpg
Earl Thomas Conley in concert
Background information
Born(1941-10-17)October 17, 1941
Portsmouth, Ohio, United States
DiedApril 10, 2019(2019-04-10) (aged 77)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active1974–2019
LabelsGRT, Warner Bros., Sunbird, RCA
Associated acts Keith Whitley

Earl Thomas Conley (October 17, 1941 – April 10, 2019) [1] was an American country music singer-songwriter. Between 1980 and 2003, he recorded ten studio albums, including seven for the RCA Records label. In the 1980s and into the 1990s, Conley also charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which eighteen reached Number One. Conley's eighteen Billboard Number One country singles during the 1980s marked the most Number One hits by any artist in any genre during that decade except for Alabama and Ronnie Milsap. [1]

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Singer-songwriter musician who writes, composes and sings

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies.

RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Conley was born October 17, 1941, in Portsmouth, Ohio, to Glenna Ruth (née Davis; 19182002) and Arthur Conley (19101989). When he was fourteen, his father lost his job with the railroad, forcing the young boy to move in with his older sister in Jamestown, Ohio. He was offered a scholarship to an art school, but rejected it in favor of joining the U.S. Army. While in the Army, Conley became a member of a Christian-influenced trio, where his musical talent and vocal ability both first became apparent. Conley then decided to consider performing as a serious career option. He shifted more deeply into the classic country sounds of artists such as Merle Haggard and George Jones. During this period he first tried his hand at songwriting. In 1968, after his discharge from the Army, Conley began commuting from Dayton to Nashville. In 1973 while in Nashville, Conley met Dick Heard, who produced country music singer Mel Street. This meeting eventually led to the Conley-Heard collaboration on the song "Smokey Mountain Memories," which made the top 10 for Street. [2] After being honorably discharged from the military, he began playing in clubs in Nashville, Tennessee, at night, supporting himself by working blue-collar jobs during the day. [3]

Portsmouth, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Portsmouth is a city in and the county seat of Scioto County, Ohio, United States. Located in southern Ohio 41 miles (66 km) south of Chillicothe, it lies on the north bank of the Ohio River, across from Kentucky, just east of the mouth of the Scioto River. The population was 20,226 at the 2010 census.

Jamestown, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

Jamestown is a village in Greene County, Ohio, United States. The population was 1,993 at the 2010 census. Dale Watson is the current mayor.

Merle Haggard American country music song writer, singer and musician

Merle Ronald Haggard was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band the Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the twang of the Fender Telecaster mixed with the sound of the steel guitar, vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville sound recordings of the same era.

Career

Feeling that he wasn't making any progress in Nashville, Conley moved to Huntsville, Alabama, to work in a steel mill. There, he met record producer Nelson Larkin, who helped him sign with independent record label GRT in 1974. Conley released four singles on that label, none of which became large hits. At the same time, he was selling songs that he had written to other artists, including Conway Twitty and Mel Street, who were having much success with them. [3]

Huntsville, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 census. Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. The Huntsville Metropolitan Area's population was 417,593 in 2010 to become the 2nd largest in Alabama. Huntsville metro's population reached 441,000 by 2014.

Steel mill plant for steelmaking

A steel mill or steelworks is an industrial plant for the manufacture of steel. It may be an integrated steel works carrying out all steps of steelmaking from smelting iron ore to rolled product, but may also describe plants where steel semi-finished casting products are made, from molten pig iron or from scrap.

Record producer individual who oversees and manages the recording of an artists music

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

Conley returned to Nashville, now writing for Nelson Larkin's publishing house. In 1979, he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. Two years later, he had his first Top 40 hit, "Dreamin's All I Do". He left the label in 1979 and joined Sunbird Records, where he again worked with Nelson Larkin. This time, Conley found success, with a Top Ten and a Number One single within the next two years. He continued to have success over the next few years, and in 1983, he was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards for his song "Holding Her and Loving You". He set a record the following year as the first artist in any genre to have four Number One singles from the same album, Don't Make It Easy for Me (released in May 1983). [3] In 1986, Conley was credited with breaking down country music barriers when he dueted with pop/R&B singer Anita Pointer of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters. Their single, "Too Many Times," the title track to Conley's 1986 album, reached #2 on the Country charts.

Warner Bros. Records American record label

Warner Bros. Records Inc. is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group and headquartered in Burbank, California. It was founded in 1958 as the recorded music division of the American film studio Warner Bros., and was one of a group of labels owned and operated by larger parent corporations for much of its existence. The sequence of companies that controlled Warner Bros. and its allied labels evolved through a convoluted series of corporate mergers and acquisitions from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Over this period, Warner Bros. Records grew from a struggling minor player in the music industry to one of the top record labels in the world.

In the music industry, the top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format. Frequent variants of the Top 40 are the Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 50, Top 75, Top 100 and Top 200.

"Holding Her and Loving You" is a song written by Walt Aldridge and Tom Brasfield and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in August 1983 as the second single from the album, Don't Make It Easy for Me. The song was Earl Thomas Conley's fourth number one country single. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the country chart.

Later years

By the end of the 1980s, Conley began collaborating with Randy Scruggs (son of country singer Earl Scruggs), in the hopes that he could bring his music back to his country roots. His record sales began to drop in the 1990s, as country took a more progressive turn, and Conley was dropped from his record label in 1992. He took a seven-year recording hiatus between 1991 and 1997 due to a number of factors, including vocal problems, disenchantment with record label politics, road fatigue, and mental burnout. [2] He began recording again in 1998. [3] In late 2013, Conley gave a telephone interview with Pods o' Pop. Conley recalled that he may have been the only country artist to have appeared on the Soul Train television program (he performed his duet with Pointer) and went into detail about the string of hits Randy Scruggs and he co-wrote. [4] [5]

Randy Scruggs American musician

Randy Lynn Scruggs was a music producer, songwriter and guitarist. He had his first recording at the age of 13. He won four Grammy Awards and was twice named Musician of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards. He was the middle son of Earl Scruggs.

Earl Scruggs American musician

Earl Eugene Scruggs was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called "Scruggs style," which is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the traditional way the five-string banjo had previously been played. This new style of playing became popular and elevated the banjo from its previous role as a background rhythm instrument to featured solo status. He popularized the instrument across several genres of music.

<i>Pods o Pop</i>

Pods o' Pop is an audio magazine featuring interviews with some of the music industry's most celebrated performers, creators and insiders. Host and producer, Tracy Alan Thibodeaux, draws from his extensive radio broadcasting experience to introduce his guest's work to uninitiated listeners, clarify historical events from the artist's perspective and showcase upcoming projects.

In 2002, Blake Shelton charted in the Top 20 with "All Over Me," which Conley co-wrote with Shelton and longtime friend, songwriter Michael Pyle.

Blake Shelton American country music singer and television personality

Blake Tollison Shelton is an American country singer, songwriter and television personality. In 2001, he made his debut with the single "Austin". The lead-off single from his self-titled debut album, "Austin" spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The now Platinum-certified debut album also produced two more top 20 entries. Although the album was released on Giant Records Nashville, he was transferred to Warner Bros. Records Nashville after Giant closed in late 2001.

Death

Conley died on April 10, 2019, at 77 years old from cerebral atrophy. [6] [7]

Discography

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Duets is a compilation of duets by country music artist Emmylou Harris in partnership with other well-known country and rock artists. Most of the twelve tracks on the album originally appeared as singles or on albums released by her singing partners. Several of the tracks attained positions on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts: "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again" with Roy Orbison was at #6 in 1980; "If I Needed You" with Don Williams at #3 in 1981; "Wild Montana Skies" with John Denver at #14 in 1983; "Thing About You" with Southern Pacific at #14 in 1985; and "We Believe in Happy Endings" with Earl Thomas Conley at #1 in 1988. Also included is "Love Hurts", an early duet with Gram Parsons from his Grievous Angel album. Duets rose to #24 on the country albums chart in 1990.

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The discography of Earl Thomas Conley, an American country music singer, consists of ten studio albums and 42 singles. He first charted in 1975 as Earl Conley for the GRT and Warner Bros. Records labels, before moving to Sunbird Records. He had his first number one in 1981 with "Fire & Smoke", and had a total of eighteen number ones between then and "Love Out Loud" in 1989.

"This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me" is a song written by Earl Thomas Conley and Mary Larkin and recorded by American country music artist Conway Twitty. It was released in October 1975 as the first single from the album This Time I've Hurt Her More. "This Time I've Hurt Her More than She Loves Me" was Conway Twitty's fifteenth number one country single as a solo artist. The single stayed at number one for a single week and spent a total of ten weeks on the country chart.

"Your Love's on the Line" is a song recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. The song was written by Conley along with Randy Scruggs, and was released in April 1983 as the lead single from the album, Don't Make It Easy for Me. The song was Earl Thomas Conley's third number one on the country chart. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of thirteen weeks on the country chart.

"Don't Make It Easy for Me" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in January 1984 as the third single and title track from the album Don't Make It Easy for Me. The song was Earl Thomas Conley's fifth number one country hit. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of twelve weeks on the country chart. The song was written by Conley and Randy Scruggs.

Angel in Disguise (Earl Thomas Conley song) song recorded by Earl Thomas Conley

"Angel in Disguise" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in April 1984 as the fourth and final single from the album Don't Make It Easy for Me. The song was Conley's sixth number one country single. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of thirteen weeks on the country chart. The song was written by Conley and Randy Scruggs

"Love Don't Care " is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in April 1985 as the third and final single from the album Treadin' Water. The song was Earl Thomas Conley's ninth number one country hit as a solo artist. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of thirteen weeks on the country chart. The song was written by Conley and Randy Scruggs.

What Id Say single by Earl Thomas Conley

"What I'd Say" is a song written by Robert Byrne and Will Robinson, and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in October 1988 as the third single from his album, The Heart of It All. "What I'd Say" was Earl Thomas Conley's seventeenth number one country single. The single went to number one on the U.S. and Canadian country chart's and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the U.S. country chart.

"Chance of Lovin' You" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in August 1984 as the lead single from the album Treadin' Water. The song was Earl Thomas Conley's seventh number one country hit. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the country chart. The song was written by Conley and Randy Scruggs.

"We Believe in Happy Endings" is a song written by Bob McDill and recorded by American country music artist Johnny Rodriguez. It was released in September 1978 as the second single from the album Just for You. The single went to number seven on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

"Silent Treatment" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in November 1980 as the first single from the album Fire and Smoke. The song reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

"Too Many Times" is a song written by Michael Smotherman, Scott Page, and Tony McShear and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley and R&B artist Anita Pointer. It was released in July 1986 as the first single and title track from the album Too Many Times. It reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

<i>Greatest Hits</i> (Earl Thomas Conley album) 1985 greatest hits album by Earl Thomas Conley

Greatest Hits is the first compilation album by the American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in September 1985 by RCA Records. The album peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

"Bring Back Your Love to Me" is a song written by John Hiatt, and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in January 1990 as the first single from his Greatest Hits 2 album. The song reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in May 1990.

"Hard Days and Honky Tonk Nights" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Earl Thomas Conley. It was released in January 1992 as the third single from the album Yours Truly. The song reached #36 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song was written by Conley and Randy Scruggs.

References

  1. 1 2 Wood, Gerry. (1998). "Earl Thomas Conley". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 108.
  2. 1 2 Dennis, Paul W. (2009-08-19). "Forgotten Artists: Earl Thomas Conley". Engine 145. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Roland, Tom. "Earl Thomas Conley biography". Allmusic . Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  4. Thibodeaux, Tracy (2 December 2013). "Pods o' Pop-Earl Thomas Conley-Part 1". Interview. Pods o' Pop. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  5. Thibodeaux, Tracy (2 December 2013). "Pods o' Pop-Earl Thomas Conley-Part 2". Interview. Pods o' Pop. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  6. Farrell, Paul (April 10, 2019). "Earl Thomas Conley Dead: Country Legend Dies at 77". Heavy.com. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  7. Friskics-Warren, Bill (April 11, 2019). "Earl Thomas Conley, Country Star of the 1980s, Is Dead At 77". nytimes.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019.