Ray Price, who we lost today at age 87, was one of early '70s country radio's crossover kings. As the Billboard ads above illustrate, a country artist's ability to chart in multiple genres was something to brag about in an industry eager to bust out of an insular phase. Although there's much more to Price's extraordinary legacy than this, his streak of six pop chart appearances between 1970 and 1973 bear special notice here. The orchestrated countrypolitan sounds that led Price to the pop and easy listening charts during this era may still offend the ears of some hardcore country fans, but there's no denying the interpretive authority of a true master, whatever the genre, when you listen to these:
8/29/70 - "For the Good Times" (Billboard pop #11, country #1)
Written by Kris Kristofferson, produced by Don Law. (These records also stand as memorials to Don Law's final years of prominence.)
3/20/71 - "I Won't Mention It Again" (pop #42, country #3)
Written by Cam Mullins, produced by Don Law. Cam Mullins is the arranger/conductor for all six of these.
8/14/71 - "I'd Rather Be Sorry" (pop #70, country #2)
Written by Kris Kristofferson, produced by Don Law
4/29/72 - "The Lonesomest Lonesome" (pop #109, country #2)
Written by Mac Davis, produced by Don Law
1/6/73 - "She's Got to Be a Saint" (pop #93, counry #1)
Written by Joe Paulini and Mike DiNapoli, produced by Don Law
8/25/73 - "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" (pop #82, country #1)
Written by Jim Weatherly, produced by Don Law. More crossing over: Gladys Knight and the Pips took their version of this song to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974 and #1 on the soul chart.
(No more Price singles reached the Hot 100 after this, although his country chart success continued until 1982.)