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?
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.