1972: Easy Loving
> Songwriter(s): Freddie Hart
> Performer / recording artist: Freddie Hart
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 23 weeks between July 17, 1971 and Dec. 18, 1971
The Country Music Association liked Freddie Hart’s “Easy Loving” so much that it named the tune Song of the Year twice in a row.
1973: Behind Closed Doors
> Songwriter(s): Kenny O’Dell
> Performer / recording artist: Charlie Rich
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 18 weeks between Feb. 24, 1973 and June 23, 1973
While Charlie Rich’s original version of this song, by prolific songwriter and sometime performer Kenny O’Dell, hit No. 1 on the country charts, it was subsequently recorded by a wide range of other country, R&B, and pop artists. Among those who recorded the song are Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Bettye LaVette, Perry Como, Percy Sledge, Tom Jones, and Bobby Womack.
1974: Country Bumpkin
> Songwriter(s): Don Wayne
> Performer / recording artist: Cal Smith
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 10 weeks between April 6, 1974 and June 8, 1974
This “story song” was singer Cal Smith’s second No. 1 hit on the country charts. It won songwriter Don Wayne top country song awards from the CMA and the Academy of Country Music as well as the Songwriter of the Year honor from the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
1975: Back Home Again
> Songwriter(s): John Denver
> Performer / recording artist: John Denver
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 11 weeks between Oct. 19, 1974 and Dec. 28, 1974
John Denver was the well-loved composer and sometimes singer of such winsome country-folk hits as “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Rocky Mountain High,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” as well as this country and adult contemporary chart-topper.
1976: Rhinestone Cowboy
> Songwriter(s): Larry Weiss
> Performer / recording artist: Glen Campbell
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 16 weeks between June 28, 1975 and Oct. 11, 1975
Glen Campbell had a hit with this popular country and pop song, but it was also recorded by several other country and non-country stars as diverse as Radiohead, Belle and Sebastian, Cher, and Bruce Springsteen. Songwriter Larry Weiss was not just a country specialist. He also wrote such pop and R&B hits as “Bend Me, Shape Me,” “Feelin’ Good,” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” but he still hit it with this one.