Hello, Jim Reeves had one of the very best voices in country music, no…one of the very best voices in music…period. His deep velvet voice so rich, over the music, was a true gift…and one we were fortunate enough to have shared for even such a short period of time. He was born on August 20, 1923 in Panola County, Texas. He worked as a DJ at KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, home of the Louisiana Hayride in the early 1950’s.
Jim’s first big Billboard Top 100 hit charted in 1957, FOUR WALLS on RCA-Victor records made Jim Reeves not only a country star but a pop star as well. The record became his third #1 country hit, the other two are, MEXICAN JOE in 1953 and BIMBO in 1953. His big hit was a #1 country hit for 8 weeks and reached #11 on the pop chart, remaining on the Billboard Top 100 for 22 weeks.
In December of 1958 he would chart another #1 country hit with BILLY BAYOU. The single just reached the Top 100 at #95. Jim would continue to chart more country hits but would not reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart again until December 28, 1959.
Just to say he had a hit record would be like saying a Rolls Royce is a car. He had a monster record that sold millions of copies all around the world. His hit, HE’LL HAVE TO GO reached the country chart on December 7, 1959 and was a huge and immediate hit. The record became the #1 country hit in America and held the top spot for 14 weeks. The single remained on the country chart for 34 weeks…on the Hot 100, HE’LL HAVE TO GO peaked at #2 holding the #2 spot for 3 weeks. The single remained on the Hot 100 for 23 weeks.
Jim Reeves recorded the song after listening to a version recorded by singer Billy Brown. The song written by Joe Allison and his wife Audrey who were actually having trouble hearing each other on the phone. When Billy Brown’s version failed to become a hit, Jim recorded it. It was to be the “B” side of IN A MANSION STANDS MY LOVE. Guess what side got the heavy air-play? It wasn’t long until the song was being played on country, pop and R&B stations. These are just some of the world-wide chart positions of one of country music’s biggest hits of all-time: AUSTRALIA-#1, NORWAY-#1, US COUNTRY-#1, US HOT 100-#1, UK SINGLES CHART-#12 and US BILLBOARD R&B CHART-#13.
Jim Reeves would continue to chart hit after hit until his untimely death from a plane crash in 1964. He would chart 80 country hits between 1953 and 1980. He would also have 23 hits that would be on the Billboard Top 100 and Hot 100 between 1957 and 1966. There was even an answer song to HE’LL HAVE TO GO. Jeanne Black recorded HE’LL HAVE TO STAY on Capitol Records and it became a #4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960.
Jim Reeves many hits have graced the music charts and our ears through the years, but none has had the pure staying power of HE’LL HAVE TO GO, a classic song, performed by a class-act…Gentleman Jim Reeves…a huge hit-maker from the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.