Charlie Rich – Behind Closed Doors (1973)
For Charlie Rich, it all started in 1959. Rich got his start in music when he walked through the doors of the infamous and legendary recording studio in Memphis, TN, Sun Records. Studio owner, Sam Phillip discovered, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Howlin Wolf, from them just walking in the front door. Rock N Roll started in Memphis.
Rich came in as a session musician, and he also begin to write songs for Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. In 1960, Rich got his big break and recorded his first singles for Phillips and Sun Records, “Lonely Weekends” and “Who Will The Next Fool Be?” The later of which is one of the most heartbreaking and desolate songs you’ll ever hear. Sam Phillips later said, “Charlie Rich was the greatest musician I ever worked with!”
Charlie Rich’s 1973 album, Behind Closed Doors is a masterpiece. It doesn’t sound like country music. Well, at least, it doesn’t sound like any country music you may be used to hearing on the radio or television now. This is real country music. And real country reeks of soul. For lack of a better example, country music is white soul music. What Behind Closed Doors sounds like is a man at his peak, writing beautiful songs on the piano about love, loss, regret, heart-ache and defense.
Songs like Sunday Kind Of Women, The Most Girl In The World, and Take It On Home all come through as epic expressions about love and lack of self worth, and their effects on every day man. John Cusak’s character “Rob” in the 2000 film High Fidelity reference’s Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors” song as a classic in one of his direct to camera manifesto rants.
A man known to be fighting his lot of personal demons during his career. Rich was a musician rooted in various influences like, deep country, gospel, with hints of jazz. His career went through several ups and downs, as he managed to stay afloat in the Nashville limelight until his passing in 1995. Behind Closed Doors would go on to win Rich a Grammy Award, 3 CMA Awards, 4 ACM Awards, and reach Platinum sales 4 times over.
Behind Closed Doors has a unique quality about it. It’s a very warm and engaging album, that’s also very heart-felt. It’s also a great album to put on the turntable when most us are feeling empty and alone. It’s like a musicial hug of sorts, or a good friend you haven’t seen in a long time, who just stops over to drink a few beers, and talks about how difficult the opposite sex is to get along with. It’s that good. It’s the greatest Sunday morning record to all time.