Friday, October 21, 2011

B.J. Thomas - "Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love"

19 Hot Country Requests - Various Artists

(Debuted May 21, 1983, Peaked #93, 2 Weeks on the Chart)

I noticed at some point in the 1980s that there were several "oldies" acts that had moved over to singing country as opposed to simply crossing over. Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers, Billy Joe Royal, Bobby Goldsboro, Brenda Lee and Paul Davis were all hitting on the format after starting out as pop-oriented acts. This is probably a factor of country being a more "adult" genre -- at least it was then -- and more appealing as a singer moves past the wilder says of youth. Paradoxically, the country influence had been there all along for these artists, and the move was also a return to their roots.

That was certainly the case for B.J. Thomas. The Oklahoma native had his first hit in 1966 with a Hank Williams song called "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." He didn't focus on country music for another decade, when his pop hits had begun to dry up. His first country chart single was "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" and hit #1 on both formats. After that, he made the transition from being a crossover artist to focusing on both country and gospel. By 1983, when "Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love" was released, it was a #1 country hit but managed only two weeks at the lower rungs of the pop chart.

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