Act Naturally (1963) (1965)

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Buck Owens (born Alvis Owens, Jr., August 12th, 1929 in Sherman, Texas, died in his sleep of heart attack March 25, 2006 in Bakersfield, CA.)

His nickname of "Buck" was self-anointed when he was just a toddler, and came from a mule on the family farm.

In the 1950s, Buck Owens, along with Wynn Stewart, Merle Haggard and others local country musicians, pioneered a rock and roll-influenced country music style in Bakersfield, CA called the "Bakersfield sound," a then unique and fresh sound defined by being stylistically clean and crisp, with no fiddles or pedal steel, and characterized by sharp, twangy guitar riffs and a strong back-beat. Their influence was so great that Bakersfield is considered today second only to Nashville, Tennessee in their influence on the entire country music genre.

The name of Owens' band, the Buckaroos, was named by Merle Haggard, who was a former member.

Chart position:
#1 (US Country).

"Act Naturally" was Owens' first #1 country hit.

It was #1 on the US Country chart for 6 weeks in June and July 1963. It was preceded by "Lonesome 7-7203" (Hawkshaw Hawkins) and succeeded by "Ring of Fire" (Johnny Cash).

All together, Owens had 20 #1 hits on the country music charts.

The Top Ten Songs: June 29, 1963 (US Billboard Country Singles).
  1. "Act Naturally" (Buck Owens)
  2. "Loneseome 7-7203" (Hawkshaw Hawkins)
  3. "We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds" (George Jones and Melba Montgomery)
  4. "Still" (Bill Anderson)
  5. "Ring Of Fire" (Johnny Cash)
  6. "Six Days On The Road" (Dave Dudley)
  7. "Roll Muddy River" (Wilburn Brothers)
  8. "Old Showboat" (Stonewall Jackson)
  9. "Pearl, Pearl, Pearl" (Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs)
  10. "The Man Who Robbed The Bank At Santa Fe" (Hank Snow)

Written by:
Voni Morrison & Johnny Russell, who also together wrote the Porter Wagoner/Dolly Parton duet "Making Plans".

Johnny Russell was a singer and songwriter who also wrote/co-wrote such songs as Jim Reeve's "In a Mansion Stands My Love" (which was recorded by Reeves at the suggestion of then RCA producer Chet Atkins, and was released as the B-side of Reeves' hit "He'll Have To Go",) "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You", The Statler Brothers' "You'll Be Back Every Night (In My Dreams)", and George Strait's #1 country hit "Let's Fall to Pieces Together".

The song came to be when Russell broke a date with a girlfriend when he was offered a recording session in Hollywood, and apologetically explained to her that "they're gonna put me in the movies."

Also by:
The Beatles, released on their 1965 album Help!, which, ironically, was the soundtrack for their movie of the same name.

Ringo Starr sang the lead vocal (with Paul McCartney singing harmony). Starr was an avid fan of country music. The Beatles performed this on their third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, marking the only time Ringo sang on the show.

Another song performed on that show was a solo number by McCartney: "Yesterday", which held at #1 in the US for 4 weeks. "Act Naturally" was the B-side, and it reached #47 (US.)

Buck Owens and Ringo Starr later became good friends, and in 1989 recorded "Act Naturally" as a duet, which was nominated for a Grammy award.

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