Lather, rinse and repeat.
The last time I talked about Guy Mitchell, I described him not exactly as a puppet, but someone who was carefully crafted in the studio to become a hitmaker by studio head, Mitch Miller. Mitchell’s post “Singing the Blues” career wasn’t as prolific as it was prior to that number one as he had six songs reach the top ten and with the exception of “Heartaches by the Number”, he only peaked at number 10 with “Rock-a-Billy”, which despite the name of the song bore little resemblance to the style of music it claimed to love.
Songs like “Rock-a-Billy” did little to alter any perception that his musical style took the grit and emotion out of country songs, but Mitchell did what he was asked, sold a copious amount of records, and for the many who didn’t know other versions Mitchell had a soothing and safe quality about him that worked and for those people, this was a Guy Mitchell song.
The Miller/Mitchell would go back to the country well once more with country writing superstar, Harlan Howard, who penned a plethora of hits on the country chart and his song, “Heartache by the Numbers”. Ray Price had already taken the tune to number 2 on the country chart and would later be a hit for George Jones in ’61. Mitchell’s version again was pop oriented and proved to be one of his biggest hits, but it also proved to be his last.
The influx of teen idols and increasing embracing of others to the more modern pop sound made Guy Mitchell look very old, very fast, and was dropped from the label two years later. Somehow it is fitting that it was one of those young teen idols that replaced him at the top of the chart.
Now like the rest of you, I will go back to forgetting about Guy Mitchell.
Other Notable Songs that charted but did not go to number one in this time period: December 14, 1959 – December 27, 1959.