1963 Bobby Bare – Detroit City
Bobby Bare was a singer/songwriter who spent the late fifties looking to break into the charts. He signed with Capitol Records and released a few unsuccessful rock-and-roll records. Inspired by the news of the army drafting Elvis, in 1958, Bobby wrote the humorous song The All American Boy. The army also drafted Bobby, and before he reported for duty, he recorded a demo version of his song and gave it to Bill Parsons. Bill recorded the song, but his record label decided to release Bobby’s version instead…but they issued the single with Bill’s name on the label. The record reached #2 on the charts, and they paid Bobby $50 for singing on the record.
After Bobby finished his military service, Chet Atkins signed him with RCA-Victor Records. Bobby’s first release on the label, Shame On Me, came out in 1962. The single peaked at #18 on the Country chart and also reached #23 on the Hot 100. The next year would be more successful for him.
Danny Dill and Mel Tillis wrote the song I Wanna Go Home. Billy Grammar recorded the song and his single reached #18 on the Country chart in January 1963. Chet produced Bobby’s version of the song and they released it a few months later with a new name, Detroit City. His single peaked at #6 on the Country chart, #16 on the Hot 100, and #4 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.
Folksinger Hedy West wrote the song 500 Miles and began singing it live. The song bears a copyright of 1961. The first released version of the song came out in 1961 by a group named the Journeymen: John Phillips (who arranged their version), Scott McKenzie (who later recorded San Francisco Wear Flowers in Your Hair), and Dick Weissman. The Journeymen broke up, reformed, and then added three more singers and became The Mamas And The Papas.
Bobby’s version of 500 Miles became his biggest hit on the pop charts, reaching #10 on the Hot 100. Bobby reached #4 on the AC chart again with his single.
Bobby had one single in 1965 that peaked at #33 and then never reached the top forty on the Hot 100 again. His career on the Country charts kept active through 1975: one more #1 single, ten more top ten singles, and 42 more top forty singles.
Bobby was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and still continues to tour.
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