Razzy Bailey Biography

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Erastus Michael Bailey, 14 February 1939, Five Points, Alabama, USA. Bailey grew up on a small farm and his parents encouraged him to learn the guitar for their Saturday night singalongs. He recorded his first record at the age of 10, formed his first band when he was 15 and spent nearly 20 years playing honky tonks in Georgia and Alabama. Among his singles were ‘Stolen Moments’, which was produced by Freddy Weller, and ‘I Hate Hate’, but commercial success eluded him (he also released albums with the bands Daily Bread and the Aquarians). He recorded his own song, ‘9, 999, 999 Tears’, with Freddy Weller and Billy Joe Royal on back-up vocals and production by Joe South. In 1976, Dickey Lee covered the song and made both the US country and pop charts. Bailey then started recording for the same label and in 1978 registered his first country Top 10 hit with ‘What Time Do You Have To Be Back To Heaven?’. In 1980, he topped the US country charts with a cheating song, ‘Loving Up A Storm’, and then, most unusually, he had three double-sided number 1s, ‘I Keep Coming Back’/‘True Life Country Music’, ‘Friends’/‘Anywhere There’s A Jukebox’ and ‘Midnight Hauler’/‘Scratch My Back (And Whisper In My Ear)’. His last US country number 1 was with ‘She Left Love All Over Me’ in 1982. Bailey’s records combine R&B with country music and his version of Wilson Pickett’s ‘In The Midnight Hour’ was a country hit. From 1987 onwards he issued records through his own Sounds Of America label. His 1993 release coincided with the suicide of his wife.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.