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Jim Reeves

Gentleman Jim Reeves was perhaps the biggest male star to emerge from the Nashville sound. His mellow baritone voice and muted velvet orchestration combined to create a sound that echoed around his world and has lasted to this day. Detractors will call the sound country-pop (or plain pop), but none can argue against the large audience that loves this music. Reeves was capable of singing hard country ("Mexican Joe" went to number one in 1953), but he made his greatest impact as a country-pop crooner. From 1955 through 1969, Reeves was consistently in the country and pop charts -- an amazing fact in light of his untimely death in an airplane accident in 1964. Not only was he a presence in the American charts, but he became country music's foremost international ambassador and, if anything, was even more popular in Europe and Britain than in his native America. After his death, his fan base didn't diminish at all, and several of his posthumous hits actually outsold his earlier singles; no less than six number one singles arrived in the three years following his burial. In fact, during the '70s and '80s, he continued to have hits with both unreleased material and electronic duets like "Take Me in Your Arms and Hold Me" with Deborah Allen and "Have You Ever Been Lonely?" with his smooth-singing female counterpart of the plush Nashville sound, Patsy Cline, who also perished in an airplane crash, in 1963. But Reeves' legacy remains with lush country-pop singles like "Four Walls" (1957) and "He'll Have to Go" (1959), which defined both his style and an entire era of country music.

Reeves was born and raised in Galloway, TX, where he was one of nine children. Tragically, his father died when Jim was only ten months old, forcing his mother to farm and raise her family. At the age of five, he was given an old guitar, and shortly afterward, he heard a Jimmie Rodgers record through his older brother. From that moment on, Reeves was entranced by country music and Rodgers in particular. By the time he was 12 years old, he had already appeared on a radio show in Shreveport, LA. Though he was fascinated with music, Reeves also was a talented athlete and during his teens he decided he was going to pursue a career as a baseball player. Winning an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, Reeves enrolled at the school to study speech and drama, but he dropped out after six weeks to work at the shipyards in Houston. Soon, he had returned to baseball, playing in the semiprofessional leagues before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1944. He stayed with the team for three years before seriously injuring his ankle and thereby ruining his chances of a prolonged athletic career.

For the next few years, Reeves went through a number of blue-collar jobs while trying to decide on a profession. During this time he began singing as an amateur, appearing both as a solo artist and as the frontman for Moon Mullican's band. In 1949, Reeves cut a number of songs for the small independent Macy label, none of which were particularly successful. In the early '50s, Reeves decided that he would make broadcasting his vocation, initially working for KSIG in Gladewater, TX, before establishing himself at KGRI in Henderson. Over the next few years, Reeves was a disc jockey and newscaster at KGRI, moving to KWKH in Shreveport, LA, in November of 1952, becoming host of the popular Louisiana Hayride. Late in 1952, Hank Williams failed to make an appearance on the show, and Reeves sang in his place. His performance was enthusiastically received, and Abbott Records immediately signed him to a record contract. "Mexican Joe" was Reeves' debut single for Abbott, and it quickly climbed to number one in the spring of 1953, spending nine weeks at the top of the charts. It was followed by another number one hit, "Bimbo," later in 1953, establishing that Reeves was not a one-hit wonder; later that same year, he was made a full-time member of the Louisiana Hayride. During 1954 and 1955, he had four other hit singles for Abbott and its parent company, Fabor, before RCA signed him to a long-term deal in 1955; that same year, he joined the Grand Ole Opry. At RCA, Reeves began to develop the distinctively smooth, lush, and pop-oriented style of country that made him a superstar and earned him the nickname Gentleman Jim. Peaking at number four, "Yonder Comes a Sucker" was his first Top Ten hit for RCA in the summer of 1955. It kicked off a remarkable streak of 40 hit singles, most of which charted in the Top Ten. Many of his singles also became pop crossovers, which indicates exactly how much of a pop influence there was on his music. Indeed, Reeves' vocal style derived from the crooning of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and early in his career he abandoned cowboy outfits for upscale suits. In the process, he brought country music to a new, urban audience.

Throughout the '50s and early '60s, Reeves racked up a number of major hits and country classics like "Four Walls" (number one for eight weeks, 1957), "Anna Marie" (1958), "Blue Boy" (number two, 1958), "Billy Bayou" (number one for five weeks, 1959), "He'll Have to Go" (number one for 14 weeks, 1960), "Adios Amigo" (number two, 1962), "Welcome to My World" (number two, 1964), and "I Guess I'm Crazy" (number one for seven weeks, 1964). "Four Walls" was the turning point in his career, proving to both Reeves himself and his producer, Chet Atkins, that his main source of success would come from ballads. As a result, Reeves became an even bigger star, not only in America but throughout the world. Reeves toured Europe and South Africa, building a strong following in countries that rarely had been open to country music in the past.

Reeves was at the height of his career when his private plane crashed outside of Nashville on July 31, 1964. The bodies of Reeves and his manager, Dean Manuel, were found two days later and were buried in his homestate of Texas. Though Reeves had died, his popularity did not vanish -- in fact, his sales increased following his death. Throughout the late '60s, RCA released a series of posthumous singles, many of which -- including "This Is It" (1965), "Is It Really Over?" (1965), "Distant Drums" (1966), and "I Won't Come in While He's There" (1967) -- hit number one. The previously unissued songs were frequently mixed in with previously released material on album releases, making his catalog confusing but profitable for RCA. The flow of unreleased Reeves material did not cease during the '70s or '80s -- in fact, there wasn't a year between 1970 and 1984 when there wasn't a Reeves single in the charts, either at the top or in the lower regions. Reeves was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967, and two years later, the Academy of Country Music instituted the Jim Reeves Memorial Award. Though the flood of unreleased material ceased in the mid-'80s, the cult surrounding Reeves never declined, and in the '90s, Bear Family released Welcome to My World, a 16-disc box set containing his entire recorded works. ~ David Vinopal
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Country Gentleman

1. Blue Boy

2. He'll Have To Go

3. Bimbo

4. Am I Losing You

5. Billy Bayou

6. I'm Getting Better (live)

7. Waiting For A Train

8. The Oklahoma Hills (live)

9. Have I Told You Lately

10. Till The End Of The World

x

Track List: The Primo Collection

Disc 1

1. Four Walls

2. Waiting For A Train

3. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

4. I've Lived A Lot In My Time

5. Beyond The Shadow Of A Doubt

6. Yonder Comes A Sucker

7. My Lips Are Sealed

8. Oklahoma Hills

9. Your Old Love Letters

10. According To My Heart

11. Am I Losing You?

12. Each Beat Of My Heart

13. Let Me Love You Just A Little

14. Wagon Load Of Love

15. Whispering Willow

16. Beatin' On The Ding Dong

18. Where Does A Broken Heart Go?

19. Shall We Gather At The River (Mother Went A-Walkin')?

20. I Love You

Disc 2

1. Mexican Joe

2. Bimbo

3. Then I'll Stop Loving You

4. Give Me One More Kiss

5. Hillbilly Waltz

6. Drinking Tequila

7. Red Eyed And Rowdy

8. Padre Of Old San Antone

9. Penny Candy

10. I'll Follow You

11. Are You The One?

12. Let Me Remember (Things I Can't Forget)

13. How Many?

14. Butterfly Love

15. It's Hard To Love Just One

16. Gypsy Heart

17. My Rambling Heart

18. You're The Sweetest Thing

19. I'll Always Love You

20. Echo Bonita

x

Track List: The Essential Jim Reeves

Disc 1

1. Mexican Joe

2. Bimbo

3. Beatin' On The Ding Dong

4. Penny Candy

5. Drinking Tequila

6. Yonder Comes A Sucker

7. According To My Heart

8. Waiting For A Train

9. Four Walls

10. Two Shadows On Your Window

11. Blue Boy

12. It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)

13. Billy Bayou

14. Home

15. He'll Have To Go

16. I'm Gettin' Better

17. I Know One

18. I Missed Me

19. Am I Losing You?

20. The Blizzard

Disc 2

1. Losing Your Love

2. Adios Amigo

3. I'm Gonna Change Everything

4. Is This Me?

5. Guilty

6. Welcome To My World

8. I Guess I'm Crazy

9. I Won't Forget You

10. This Is It

11. Is It Really Over?

12. Snow Flake

13. Distant Drums

14. Blue Side Of Lonesome

15. I Won't Come In While He's There

16. I Heard A Heart Break Last Night

17. That's When I See The Blues (In Your Pretty Brown Eyes)

18. When You Are Gone

19. When Two Worlds Collide

20. Angels Don't Lie

x

Track List: Country Hit Parade

x

Track List: Peace In The Valley

1. He'll Have To Go

2. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

3. I Know One

4. Am I Losing You? (live)

5. Anna Marie (live)

6. I Love You More (live)

7. Waiting For A Train

8. Blue Boy

9. I Missed Me

10. According To My Heart

11. Four Walls

12. Bimbo

13. When God Dips His Love Into My Heart

14. Billy Bayou

15. I'd Like To Be

16. Peace In The Valley (live)

17. In A Mansion Stands My Love

18. Youder Comes A Sucker

x

Track List: Dear Hearts & Gentle People

Disc 1

1. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

2. Just Call Me Lonesome

3. How's The World Treating You

4. If Heartache Is The Fashion

5. Home

6. Dear Hearts And Gentle People

7. I'm Beginning To Forget You

8. Roly Poly

9. Wind Up Doll

10. Sweet Evening Breeze

11. Your Old Love Letters

12. Till The End Of The World

13. Making Believe

14. The Oklahoma Hills

15. The Highway To Nowhere

Disc 2

1. Each Beat Of My Heart

2. Mexican Joe

3. El Rancho Del Rio

4. I'll Always Love You

5. If You Love Me Don't Leave Me

6. My Rambling Heart

7. Bimbo

8. How Many

9. Then I'll Stop Loving You

10. Whispering Willow

11. Your Old Love Letters

12. You're The Sweetest Thing

13. Are You The One

14. Everywhere You Go

15. Give Me One More Kiss

x

Track List: Girls I Have Known / The Intimate Jim Reeves

1. Marie

2. Mona Lisa

4. Charmaine

5. Margie

6. Anna Marie

8. Linda

9. Ramona

10. Maria Elena

11. My Mary

12. Goodnight Irene

13. Dark Moon

14. Oh, How I Miss You Tonight

15. Take Me In Your Arms And Hold Me

16. I'm Gettin' Better

17. Almost

18. You're Free To Go

19. You're The Only Good Thing

20. Have I Stayed Away Too Long

21. No One To Cry To

22. I Was Just Walking Out The Door

23. Room Full Of Roses

24. We Could

x

Track List: Anthology

Disc 1

1. Mexican Joe

2. Bimbo

3. Beatin' On The Ding Dong

4. Penny Candy

5. Drinking Tequila

6. Yonder Comes A Sucker

7. According To My Heart

8. Waiting For A Train

9. Four Walls

10. Two Shadows On Your Window

11. Blue Boy

12. It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)

13. Billy Bayou

14. Home

15. He'll Have To Go

16. I'm Gettin' Better

17. I Know One

18. I Missed Me

19. Am I Losing You?

20. The Blizzard

Disc 2

1. Losing Your Love

2. Adios Amigo

3. I'm Gonna Change Everything

4. Is This Me?

5. Guilty

6. Welcome To My World

7. Love Is No Excuse

8. I Guess I'm Crazy

9. I Won't Forget You

10. This Is It

11. Is It Really Over?

12. Snow Flake

13. Distant Drums

14. Blue Side Of Lonesome

15. I Won't Come In While He's There

16. I Heard A Heart Break Last Night

17. That's When I See The Blues (In Your Pretty Brown Eyes)

18. When You Are Gone

19. When Two Worlds Collide

20. Angels Don't Lie

x

Track List: He'll Have To Go

1. Am I Losing You

2. He'll Have To Go

3. Have I Told You Lately

5. I Love You More

8. The Oklahoma Hills

9. I'm Getting Better

10. Bimbo

x

Track List: Double Goldies

Disc 1

1. Mexican Joe

2. Then I'll Stop Loving You

3. Penny Candy

4. I'll Follow You

5. Hillbilly Waltz

6. Butterfly Love

7. It's Hard To Love Just One

8. Red Eyed And Rowdy

9. Are You The One

10. Let Me Remember (Things I Can't Forget)

11. My Rambling Heart

12. Echo Bonita

13. How Many

14. Let Me Love You Just A Little

Disc 2

1. Bimbo

2. Where Does A Broken Heart Go

3. Give Me One More Kiss

4. Shall We Gather At The River (Mother Went A Walkin' )

5. Gypsy Heart

6. Beatin' On A Ding Dong

8. El Rancho Del Rio

9. A Woman's Love

10. Tahiti

11. Padre Of Old San Antone

12. Each Beat Of My Heart

13. I Could Cry

14. I'll Always Love You

x

Track List: The Best Of Jim Reeves

1. He'll Have To Go

2. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

3. Mexican Joe

4. Drinking Tequila

5. Bimbo

6. Roly Poly

8. Yonder Comes A Sucker

9. Four Walls

10. Your Old Love Letters

11. Billy Bayou

12. It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)

13. Blue Boy

14. Teardrops In My Heart

15. Home

16. My Happiness

17. Two Shadows On Your Window

18. Blues In My Heart

19. Anna Marie

20. Mona Lisa

21. My Lips Are Sealed

22. Charmaine

23. According To My Heart

24. Goodnight Irene

25. Penny Candy

Comments

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Two of the all time greats
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Another Jim Reeves song I was not familiar with. Again, he stopped me as soon as I read the very first line of the lyrics. So, I have to read the lyrics a few more times because they are (seriously) deep, & reflection worthy!!!
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Just wonderful.
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Old is gold
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lea6447
I especially like the songs of Eddy Arnold
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A truly God given talent...Glo r y !
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He has a heart of gold
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:) yes, he does have a voice of Gold.
So completely heavenly !!
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edward_d_sou z a
Please play we thank thee by Jim Reeves
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hancock11230
Oh my gosh he has a voice of gold.they just don't make em like that any more
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So great to hear the old songs and hymns of yester-year. So many outstanding singers. Thanks for playing these songs. It is a sprittual uplifting.
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It brings so much warmth to my heart when I hear his voice. Love it. :-)
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So gentle. Welcome To My World. I am so into music. How could I have missed this very sincere, humble, gentle voice?
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0000
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I love his song "Partners"! Amazing voice.
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baramos1935
best singer ever, still listen to him.
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I love all JIM Reeves Songs from I was a little girl my Mom and Dad.
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Listening to him sing..is great on Sunday evening at the start of another week. Glory!
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Excellent unforgettabl e
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Excellent unforgettabl e
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His singing makes one think about life, and about God's promise. Amen!
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My Dad loved Jim Reeves and so did that late great James Brown
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Hank snow
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I have enjoyed Jim since 1968 when I had him on 8 track tapes.
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I have been listening to Jim for 5 years, I miss him, a great voice !
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I love "Partners" for some reason I nicknamed it "The Creepy Song" XD
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neiltheodore
Been listening to Jim Reeves since 1965 . The greatest .
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The very best
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@dc8av8erky. . . J i m Reeves is great to listen to.
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Country music at its best. You can't best this kind pf music.
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what a voice to just dream by
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Smoothe
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"The Wreak Of The Number Nine" is an excellent example of the versatility to Jim Reeves. His ballads are stunning ,albeit heartbreakin g ! Yet, he could create a 180 degree turn on a piece of music that threw a listener for an unexpected event. Takes immense talent - he possessed that...
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Mr.Reeves thanks for such beautiful songs! ;)
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The Best ever!
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Listening to Jim Reeves, one feels so relaxed. No ugliness! He deserved the title Gentleman Jim Reeves!! It is so sad that such a talented artist passed away at the height of his career. RIP Mr Reeves..
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Partners, is my favorite Jim Reeves song. Haunting melody!
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I thought Randy Travis would be a second Jim Reeves . nada. good but not gentleman JIM
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rgaskins36
One of the finest voices to stand in front of a microphone.. . Gentleman Jim... Mr Countrypolit a n . . . my all-time favorite country singer. (He would have been 92 years old this year.)
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Absolute class! What a great voice! Another one we lost too soon.
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I grew up listening to Reeves...my mom and dad had the best Tim singing his songs....the y always sounded beautifully. I loves Reeves. I know he must have been a lover boy.
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Love Jim reeves always. May his soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.
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a newly discovered voice for myself. fantastic.
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I listened to Jim Reeves with Pap when I was young
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Please play "GONE" it has been a favorite of mine for over 60 years...
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garychevy
Jim Reeves is the best ever.
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# 1 Jim Reeves
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Such a beautiful voice
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True country
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I love Jim Reeves since when I was in high school in the Phil. He's one of my favorite country singer.
Show more

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