Bare had many failed attempts to sell his songs in the 1950s. He finally signed with Capitol Records and recorded a few rock and roll songs without much chart success. Just before he was drafted into the Army, he wrote a song called “The All American Boy”and did a demo for his friend, Bill Parsons, to learn and record. Instead of using the version Bill Parsons did later, the record company, Fraternity Records, decided to use the original demo recorded by Bobby Bare. The record reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but they made an error: the singles’ labels all credited the artist as being “Bill Parsons.” The same track, with the same billing error, peaked at No. 22 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1959.
Career at RCA (1962–1970)
Bare’s big break in country music came when RCA Records’ Chet Atkins signed him. The first song he released on the label was “Shame On Me” in 1962. His second RCA release, “Detroit City,” reached #6 Country, #16 Hot 100, and in 1964 earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country and Western Recording. Then a surge of hits followed, including “500 Miles Away from Home” (based on a traditional folk ballad written by Hedy West as “500 Miles”)and Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds.” In 1965 he received two Grammy nominations for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance and Best Country & Western single for the song “Four Strong Winds”. In 1966, he received a Grammy Nomination for Best Country & Western Male Vocal Performance for his song “Talk Me Some Sense”. He also recorded with Skeeter Davis, Norma Jean and Liz Anderson. “The Game of Triangles”, a wife-husband-other woman drama that hit number five on the Billboard chart earned the trio a Grammy nomination. In 1968, he recorded an album with a group from England called The Hillsiders. In 1969, he had a Top 5 hit with Tom T. Hall’s “(Margie’s At) The Lincoln Park Inn”.
Career at Mercury (1970–1972)
Bare moved to Mercury Records in 1970 and immediately scored a Top 3 hit with “How I Got To Memphis” and had two Top 10 hits from early Kris Kristofferson compositions, “Come Sundown” (1971) and “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends,” (1971). He also scored a No. 12 hit in 1972 with a version of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s pop hit “Sylvia’s Mother”, written by Shel Silverstein.
Second career at RCA (1973–1977)
After two years at Mercury, Bare returned to RCA Records in 1973 and scored with Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ride Me Down Easy” which nearly made the Top 10.
Bare started to release novelty songs recorded live with selected audiences. One such song, “Marie Laveau,” reached the number one position on the country chart in 1974; it was his only number one hit. This song was co-written by his friends Shel Silverstein and Baxter Taylor, who received a BMI Award for the song in 1975.
Silverstein penned other songs for Bare including a Grammy-nominated hit, “Daddy What If,” which he recorded with his five-year-old son, Bobby Bare, Jr. The song was an immediate success as well not only reaching No. 2 on the country charts but nearly reaching the Top 40 on the Pop charts. Bare’s album, “Lullabys, Legends and Lies” became his most commercially successful album and Bare had a new audience with pop radio once again playing his songs and a new following with college kids. These two songs, however, would become Bare’s last Top 10 hits. Bare later recorded a very successful album with his family, written mainly by Silverstein, called “Singin’ in The Kitchen.” It was nominated for best group category in Grammy Awards, but was declined by Bare himself. He continued to record critically acclaimed albums and singles. His biggest hits during this time included “Alimony” (1975), “The Winner” (1976), and “Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life)” (the world’s only Christian-football waltz, and a 1976 Grammy nominee). In 1977 he recorded “Redneck Hippie Romance”and “Vegas” (a duet with his wife Jeannie).
Career at Columbia Records (1978–1983)
Bare signed with Columbia Records and continued to have hits like “Sleep Tight Good Night Man” a near Top 10 in 1978 and releasing critically acclaimed albums like “Bare” and “Sleeper Wherever I Fall”. In 1979, he started off Rosanne Cash’s career in a big way by singing a duet with her called “No Memories Hangin’ Round” which went Top 20 for them. In 1980, he scored a near Top 10 with “Numbers” which came from his album “Down and Dirty” where Bare started to experiment with Southern rock and continued this with his next album “Drunk and Crazy”. In 1981, Bare released an album entitled “As Is” which was produced by Rodney Crowell and returned Bare back to his country roots with songs like “New Cut Road”. Bare was still doing well chartwise into the early 1980s. In 1983, he released a Top 30 duet with Lacy J. Dalton called “It’s A Dirty Job”. His last trip into the Top 30 came that summer with the novelty song “The Jogger”.
Bare was also given an opportunity to star in the movies. He acted in a Western with Troy Donahue, A Distant Trumpet, and a few episodes of the TV series No Time for Sergeants. He turned his back on Hollywood to pursue his career in country music.
Check out more on Bobby Bare @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Bare,_Jr.