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TODAY IN POP MUSIC HISTORY — A SONGWRITER’S FIRED…FOR WRITING A SONG FOR ELVIS (Videos)

Can you imagine getting fired because you co-wrote a hit song for the King of Rock And Roll? A song that was recorded nearly a year earlier?
 
Believe it.
 
Forty eight years ago Monday (January 29, 1970), this song was released….
 

 
Elvis Presley recorded “Kentucky Rain” nearly a year earlier on February 19, 1969…but the real story was told by Casey Kasem at least twice on “American Top 40.” 
 
Eddie Rabbitt, who co-wrote “Kentucky Rain” along with Dick Heard, was told by his label that allowing Elvis to sing “Kentucky Rain” would ruin his career in music. Put another way, at least one label higher-up essentially told Eddie Rabbitt that if he didn’t record “Kentucky Rain” for the label….and allowed Elvis to record it instead–he’d get fired. And that’s what happened. It took Eddie Rabbitt about five years to find another label. 
 
No matter. Eddie Rabbitt would get the last laugh although it took him 11 years. He would have seven Top 40 hits on his own, including–ironically–a #1 rainy hit in 1981…
 

 
Four years earlier in 1977, Eddie Rabbitt recorded “Kentucky Rain” his “Variations” album (thank you, Dale Jones of Mediabase 24/7). 
 
Dick Heard, meanwhile, had already co-written hits like “Abigail Beecher” for Freddy Cannon. Sadly, both writers of “Kentucky Rain” died of cancer in 1998.
 
I rate “Kentucky Rain” as the #18 Elvis song of all time. Ronnie Milsap provided background vocals.

One thought on “TODAY IN POP MUSIC HISTORY — A SONGWRITER’S FIRED…FOR WRITING A SONG FOR ELVIS (Videos)

  1. What Rabbit should have done is to tell Presley, the most generous mega celebrity in history. Just an example. In 1965, a great blues singer released “Crying in the chapel”, a recording she made a couple of month earlier. By a mere coincidence, RCA released Elvis’ version, which had been recorded 5 years earlier, and sales of the blues singer’s single sank in the charts, while Presley’s rose, not just in the US charts, but worldwide, even topping the UK charts . In 1966, she bumped into Presley at an official function and, althiough they had never met, told him the whole story. After listening intently, Presley calmly took out a check from checkbook he carried in the back of his pants, wrote something on it, sign it then folded it before handing it to her . She thanked him, but was not about to see for how much was the check, until that Christmas when her mom had not a single dollar to buy her, or anyone, a present. So she went back to the purse she had used that day, found it, and unfolded it to see, as she put it, the most zeros she had ever seen. It was for US$10,000, the equivalent today of US$75,000. She kept US$ 50, gave the rest to her mom and again, according to her, they never ever had a better Christmas. Her name is Carol Fran and she is 84 years old…

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