My Legends of Pop Music – Part Thirty-One – Jim Reeves
If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.
So, in a sort of chronological order, my thirty first legend is: Jim Reeves
Now I know many of you will love this, there is something about Gentleman Jim Reeves and certain records that will trigger happy memories. No doubt some will be wondering why I class his music as “pop”. It is simply that without people like him and crooners like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, we would not have had “pop” music, well at least in my view.
I expect some of you will never have heard of him or listened to his music, if so, do please give a few tunes a go.
I should have put Jim into a much earlier article, but I just happened to miss him at the time.
I was 10 in 1966 when “Distant Drums” became No 1. I have been hooked on his music ever since then. Never knew at the time he had died 2 years earlier, but they released a lot of songs after his death. If you wanted just one album of his, I recommend “Gentleman Jim”
James Travis Reeves (August 20, 1923 – July 31, 1964) was an American country and popular music singer-songwriter. With records charting from the 1950s to the 1980s, he became well known as a practitioner of the Nashville Sound. Known as “Gentleman Jim”, his songs continued to chart for years after his death in a plane crash. He is a member of both the Country Music and Texas Country Music Halls of Fame.
Reeves’ initial efforts to pursue a baseball career were sporadic, possibly due to his uncertainty as to whether he would be drafted into the military as World War II enveloped the United States. On March 9, 1943, he reported to the Army Induction Centre in Tyler, Texas for his preliminary physical examination. However, he failed the exam (probably due to a heart irregularity), and on 4 August 1943 an official letter declared his 4-F draft status. Reeves began to work as a radio announcer and sang live between songs. During the late 1940s, he was contracted with a couple of small Texas-based recording companies, but without success. Reeves at this point was influenced by early country and western swing artists including Jimmie Rodgers and Moon Mullican, as well as popular singers Bing Crosby, Eddy Arnold and Frank Sinatra. In the late 1940s, Reeves joined Moon Mullican’s band, and as a solo artist, Reeves recorded Mullican-style songs including “Each Beat of my Heart” and “My Heart’s Like a Welcome Mat” in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
During 1966, Reeves’ record “Distant Drums” hit number one on the UK Singles Chart and remained there for five weeks, beating competition from the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine“/”Eleanor Rigby” (a double-sided “A” release), and the Small Faces‘ song, “All Or Nothing“. The song stayed in the UK chart for 25 weeks and took number one on the US country music chart. Originally, “Distant Drums” had been recorded merely as a “demo” for its composer, Cindy Walker, believing it was for her personal use and had been deemed “unsuitable” for general release by Chet Atkins and RCA Victor. During 1966, however, RCA determined a market for the song existed because of the war in Vietnam. It was named Song of the Year in the UK during 1966 by the BBC, and Reeves became the first American artist to receive the accolade.
A full discography is here: Jim Reeves
Mexican Joe – Live TV show and in colour!
Bimbo – Clean cut American happy song
I Love You Because – No live version but as Valentines days is coming up, this has the lyrics as well. Please feel free to sing to your loved one.
Where Does A Broken Heart Go? – Lovely ballad.
Yonder Comes A Sucker – Live TV show, great performance.
According To My Heart – Beautiful song
Am I Losing You – Another fine ballad.
Four Walls (Good Quality)-1962
Anna Marie – I just like this one.
Blue Boy – 1958 [Reelin’ In The Years Archive]
In A Mansion – Another favourite of mine.
Welcome to My World, 1964 TV. Superb voice, as ever.
I Love You Because – Another Valentines day for you. Superb.
Peace In The Valley (HD) (with lyrics)
Along with the featured track, my favourite, and probably most popular:
Singalong, enjoy and be happy!
Links to previous Legend articles:
Featured image: “Jim Reeves – Songs to warm the Heart, RCA Victor SVA-S 1006” by Piano Piano! is licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Phil the ex test manager 2022