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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I'm trying to find his album Talking to Your Heart . Can anyone help?
Yes he has a lovely voice.Great song.
Lovely voice!
botank
The Blizzard was always my favorite as a kid
I
Yea still listen.
Loved this man and his music!
Love all his music.
boanexus
I remember listening to Jim Reeves when I was growing up as a child and my Uncle would play his music every morning. I fell in love with Jim Reeve's and even now in my 50's he generates such passion, emotion, thoughtfulne s s , love and faith in many who listen to him, its unbelievable . He was Heaven sent. And, was quickly taken away from us. He was and is the Greatest of them all. I love you, Gentleman Jim. You are forever in my heart!!
Maxie.McCrac k e n The most beautiful voice and songs . I love all of his music, he even is almost as good as Ray Price. Love both of them.
I'm a jamaican, and I can remember when I was a little boy growing up I used to listen to Jim Reeve.
Because my father love is music, and there's nothing better to listen to on a Sunday like jim Reeves music. ..now I am a man I am still listening to his music on pondora..... c o u n t r y and western is my favorite every time and any time......Th a n k you pondora. ....
Jim Reeves had to have had the sexiest deep voice ever....amaz i n g !
Beautiful voice, and a wonderful rendition. Glory!
He makes me cry whenever I hear his voice
marlenendale
I have always loved Jim Reeves music, after reading the above about his life I was wondering if he had ever been married or had any children to carry on for him?.
It is no secret what God can do one of the greatest spiritual songs I've ever heard
Great singer
I drive a truck and pass his memorial often. Always seems like he is there in the truck with me. Cause most time one of his great songs is playin on the radio. Love his musc
dallasmiller h e r e listenningto your music
Jim was always a family favorite when I was a kid. I think Mom and I liked him the most. A few years back my closest friend bought the Bear Family collection for me. It is unbelievable ! I don't think there was a singer with better diction or one who put his whole heart into a song.
Another great selection from Pandora brings me back to my late childhood. Have not heard him for years great to hear him again thanks Pandora.
Pandora, Kim Owens did not write (I can't stop loving you),It was Mr.Don Gibson
I have several Jim Reeves songs on my playlist, always takes me back to happy times, dancing on my daddy's toes, with a stack of records on the stereo. Thanks for the memories. :)
Pandora ,Vince Gill was not the songwriter of (losing your love) Vince wasn't even born when Jim Reeves sang this great song.
don.lucas0
Can we ever get back to our past loves
don.lucas0
1966 while I was in the west african jungles, I could hear his singing songs. To find out it was being played by the locals, on their record players. I loved it
Had been a long time since I heard Jim Reeves Brings me back in time
Classic Group Harmony R&B/Doo -Wop is my favorite music BUT.... Classic Country singers like Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline were great and I enjoy ALL of their music!

ejensen52
One of the true greatest singers of all time. His songs are timeless and his voice unequalled. I'm sure he would have had many more great hits if he hadn't died so young. Unlike most of the music of today, his songs were meaningful, pleasurable to listen to, and sometimes joyful, a great mix!
larrygo0
Whoops, I meant to say pay.
larrygo0
And now today a lot of artists HAVE to play stations to play their their music, it's called payola I think.
larrygo0
And then to watch American Idol...what a shame.
No one has come close to the sound of Jim's beautiful baritone voice. And, they probably never will!!!!!
autumnthuvm
Mr Jim Reeves was a great voice at all time and wonderful person I love all his singing .
mark.ottey
Amazing Gospel songs and voice....
he is the best
mtalamantes2 0 0 3
He is my favorite
I have always loved Jim Reeves music.For many years. HE HAS MANY GREAT SONGS.
cbudhwa7
I love all Jim Reeves songs. Thank you Pandora .
cbudhwa7
Lovely song....
honeysuckle_ r o s e _ 7 7 7
Jim Reeves is still among the very best. Whispering Hope has been a favorite hymn since I was a very little girl. Thanks Pandora.
I have loved aajim Reeves smooth velvet voice, he remains my favorite country singer.
ONLY ONE OTHER SINGER CAN MATCH JIM-ITS RAY PRICE
The very meaning of the word mellow is Jim Reeves - with class, of course. :)
Magificent voice. Heavenly.
My parents loved this guy..and hearing his voice was eerie..and his choice of songs, that were almost precognitive in his depiction, that his time was up?..probabl y was the first Urbanite, then Ray Price after him..a great baritone.
looking for song by jim reeves titled maureen
Does anyone know who recorded an acoustic album entitled Cowboy of the '70's?
Daniel O'Donnell mentioned in a concert that Jim was his favorite singer.
monjocoff
My favorite singer since the 50's along with Eddy Arnold, brings back so many memories of younger days, since losing my husband these memories are special.
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