1971 Ray Price – For The Good Times
Ray Price grew up in Texas and went to college to become a vet, but he was too small to work with cattle and horses and had to change his plans. He began singing in local events in the Abilene area. He started singing on radio program in the late forties. He moved to Nashville and roomed with Hank Williams in the early fifties.
Columbia Records signed Ray to a recording contract in 1951. He recorded two top five Country hits in 1952. Ray formed his own a backup band in 1953, The Cherokee Cowboys. Some of the members of the band in the fifties and early sixties included Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Paycheck.
Ray’s got his first number one Country record in 1956 with a Western Swing tune. Crazy Arms did not reach the Hot 100, but it did reach #27 on a chart I had never heard of before researching Ray’s records: the Honor Roll Of Hits. Fewer than two dozen records made that chart without also reaching one of the other pop charts, so it’s unlikely you ever heard the song unless you listened to Country stations.
Two more of Ray’s hits in the fifties reached the top of the Country chart, and those both reached the Hot 100. The records peaked at #63 and #71, but Ray would not get into the Hot 100 again until 1970.
Kris Kristofferson moved to Nashville and began writing songs for other artists beginning in 1965. In 1968, Bill Nash recorded one of Kris’ songs, For The Good Times, but it did not chart. Several more artists recorded the song before Kris recorded the song for his first album in 1970. Ray recorded a cover version and released a single of the song in 1970. The record quickly rose to the top of the Country chart. This time his record also got airplay on Adult Contemporary (AC) stations and eventually even top forty radio.
For The Good Times reached the top ten on the AC chart and peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 in early 1971. Four more of Ray’s singles reached the Hot 100 in the next two years, but none of them got into the Top Forty on the Hot 100.
Ray had more than forty top ten singles on the Country chart, including eight that reached number one. His last charted record came in 2007, when he recorded Last Of The Breed with Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. The single took him back into the Country top ten and even reached #64 on the Hot 100.
Ray fought with cancer for a few years and died in 2013.
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