Charlie Rich / The Sun Records

Charlie Rich

Charles Allan Rich (December 14, 1932 – July 25, 1995) was an American country singer.
His eclectic style of music also blended influences from rockabilly, jazz, blues, soul, and gospel.

In the later part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname the Silver Fox.
He is perhaps best remembered for a pair of 1973 hits, "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl," which topped the U.S. country singles charts as well as the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles charts and earned him two Grammy Awards.
Rich was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked Rich at number 120 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Rich was born in Colt, Arkansas, to rural cotton farmers.
He graduated from Consolidated High School in Forrest City, where he played saxophone in the band. He was strongly influenced by his parents, who were members of the Landmark Missionary Baptist Church; his mother, Helen Rich, played piano in church and his father sang in gospel quartets. A black sharecropper on the family land named C. J. Allen taught Rich blues piano.
He enrolled at Arkansas State College on a football scholarship and then after an injury, transferred to the University of Arkansas as a music major.
He left after one semester to join the United States Air Force in 1953.

He married Margaret Ann Greene in 1952. While stationed in Enid, Oklahoma, he formed "the Velvetones", playing jazz and blues and featuring his wife on vocals.
When he left the military in 1956, the couple returned to the West Memphis area to farm 500 acres.
He also began performing in clubs around the Memphis area, playing both jazz and R&B, and began writing his own material.

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