Willie Nelson is not the one octogenarian nation icon who is not easing into retirement anytime quickly: Charley Pleasure, who turns 86 on March 18, can be persevering with to increase his musical legacy with a gentle slate of tour dates.

Pleasure’s repute as a legend can be cemented even with out extra time on the street, nevertheless. The Mississippi native was additionally a baseball expertise — he performed with a number of Negro Leagues groups and tried out for some Main League Baseball squads, too — and was later signed to RCA Data by Chet Atkins himself.

That report deal accelerated Pleasure’s profession success, and he quickly turned a dominant pressure inside the style; in reality, between 1967 and 1984, solely two of his singles missed the Prime 10 of Billboard’s nation charts. General, he is racked up 40 No. 1 hits in his profession, and gained a powerful array of awards.

In 1971, Pleasure’s album Did You Suppose to Pray gained Finest Sacred Efficiency (Musical) on the Grammy Awards, whereas his single “Let Me Reside” nabbed the Grammy for Finest Gospel Efficiency (Different Than Soul). Pleasure was named the CMA’s Entertainer of the Yr and Prime Male Vocalist that yr, and earned the latter honor in 1972 as nicely. He’s additionally one in every of solely three black performers to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and he was ushered into the Nation Music Corridor of Fame in 2000.

Pleasure has by no means stopped recording, both: He was a part of the 2016 all-star “Without end Nation” single, and launched an album, Music in My Coronary heart, in 2017. Though it is powerful to decide on one of the best moments from his catalog, listed here are the Prime 10 Charley Pleasure songs.

  • 10

    “Mountain of Love”

    From 1982’s ‘All people’s Alternative’

    A staple of Pleasure’s setlists to today, the Harold Dorman-penned “Mountain of Love” — which was additionally popularized by Johnny Rivers — reveals off the icon’s vary. Extra particularly, Pleasure’s chart-topping model of the music, which expresses remorse {that a} former love is marrying another person, hews towards easygoing country-soul with a touch of gospel, and is pushed by his expressive, resonant voice. Though lyrically morose, his supply is sort of jaunty and optimistic — a sign that the protagonist will survive his loneliness.

  • 9

    “Somebody Loves You Honey”

    From 1978’s ‘Somebody Loves You Honey’

    A two-week chart topper, “Somebody Loves You Honey” is a swooning, romantic ballad that discover Pleasure exhibiting off his tender vocal aspect. “Keep in mind, somebody loves you honey,” he croons. “It doesn’t matter what, I simply need you to be my lady.”

  • 8

    “It is Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer”

    From 1972’s ‘A Sunshine Day With Charley Pleasure’

    Pleasure recorded dozens of songs written by Nashville Songwriters Corridor of Fame member Ben Peters — together with “It is Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer,” which spent three weeks at No. 1 on the nation charts. Highlighted by jaunty pedal metal and twangy guitars, the sensible music contains a narrator who realizes he is nonetheless hung up on an ex, however is being cautious along with his coronary heart and never speeding getting over issues.

  • 7

    “(I am So) Afraid of Shedding You Once more”

    From 1970’s ‘Simply Plain Charley’

    Pleasure’s second No. 1 single, the susceptible ballad “(I am So) Afraid of Shedding You Once more,” spent three weeks at No. 1 on the nation charts. With its wealthy harmonies, keening pedal metal and slow-trot tempo, the music embodied the “countrypolitan” sound dominating the charts within the late ’60s and early ’70s.

  • 6

    “Crystal Chandeliers”

    From 1967’s ‘The Nation Means’

    Pleasure has greater hits, though one in every of his most beloved songs in Belfast, Eire, is “Crystal Chandeliers.” In response to the Belfast Telegraph, that is as a result of the nation icon carried out within the metropolis in 1976, when Belfast was roiled by political unrest, and paved the way in which for different musicians to come back to the town. “That was a big launch for me,” Pleasure informed the paper in 2015. “I knew in my coronary heart “Chandeliers” can be a success.”

  • 5

    “All I Need to Provide You (Is Me)”

    From 1969’s ‘The Better of Charley Pleasure’

    Pleasure’s first No. 1 single is self-deprecating and virtually bashful. Earlier than providing up a marriage ring, the music’s protagonist warns a possible partner, “There’s one thing you must know / In regards to the years forward and the way they’re going to be / You may be residing in a world / The place roses rarely develop / ‘Trigger all I’ve to give you is me.” “All I Need to Provide You (Is Me)” was additionally notable as a result of it marked the primary time a black musician had topped the nation charts since 1944, when Louis Jordan did so with “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Child.”

  • 4

    “I am Simply Me”

    From 1971’s ‘I am Simply Me’

    This upbeat, brisk ode to being true to your self spent 4 weeks atop the nation charts. “I used to be simply born to be precisely what you see,” he sings, as a refrain of background singers bolsters his expressions of individualism. “Nothing kind of; I am not the worst or one of the best / I simply attempt to be precisely what you see / As we speak and every single day, I am simply me.”

  • 3

    “Is Anyone Goin’ to San Antone”

    From 1970’s ‘Charley Pleasure’s 10th Album’

    Strings and pedal metal dip up and down all through this deceptively upbeat No. 1 music, which particulars somebody making an attempt to hit the open street and flee from an imploded relationship, ostensibly by hitchhiking. Whereas the narrator is not choosy (“Is anyone goin’ to San Antone / Or Phoenix, Arizona? / Anyplace is alright so long as I / Can overlook I’ve ever identified her”), he does understand, on some stage, that working away will not remedy his heartbreak. Doug Sahm and Nancy Sinatra have additionally minimize variations of this music.

  • 2

    “Simply Between You and Me”

    From 1967’s ‘The Pleasure of Nation Music’

    Pleasure’s first massive hit was this Grammy-nominated music, a delicate waltz with soft-glow backing harmonies which reached No. 9 on the charts and established his nation/pop bona fides. “Simply between you and me,” he sings in a heat, downtrodden tone that is brimming with disappointment. “You are an excessive amount of to overlook.”

  • 1

    “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'”

    From 1971’s ‘Charley Pleasure Sings Coronary heart Songs’

    Pleasure’s highest-charting pop crossover music — it peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 — the playful “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” is his most recognizable tune. The key is in its simplicity: The lyrics reveal the key to a contented life — that may be treating a lady proper, so you could have a loving relationship — and music that mixes instrumentation resembling jaunty piano and perky fiddle. Pleasure ties all of it along with an understated vocal that exudes hard-earned knowledge: It is the voice of a contented man who is aware of precisely of which he sings.

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