January 23, 2010

Ray Stevens: The Greatest Hits

Let's dust off a pair of 1987 albums that MCA Records released on Ray Stevens. The albums contain 10 songs each and both releases have become known among fans as "his greatest" because all of the songs tend to be what the public remembers the most...give or take a few omissions. The first release is a Platinum album...achieving sales of a million copies or more. This feat happened in 1990...prior to this declaration it was awarded Gold selling status of half a million copies sold. I believe both certifications happened in 1990. A lot of times the RIAA won't declare an album or single a Gold or Platinum seller unless a record label puts in an application. I think this is why MCA, in 1990, put in an application and the RIAA recognized the sales figures of the album. This is all speculation, of course. In a Life and Times television special that aired on The Nashville Network in 1997, Ray remarked that his albums became successful in time due to word of mouth and that the albums "eeked along..." and became Gold and Platinum through one person telling the other about a song or album they've bought and it spreads from there. I know nobody needs me to explain what "eek along" means but I'll do so anyway. Eek along means to go slowly. In other words, Ray's albums slowly reach Gold or Platinum status.

Depending on who's being asked the question some artists and record labels would prefer an album instantly strike Gold and Platinum but others take the approach that if an album takes it's time to achieve those sales plateau's then it provides longevity for that artist because it side-steps the "fast-burn" or "quick-hit" label often given to any singer or album that grabs the public's attention rather quickly. The quicker a song or album becomes a hit the sooner it'll peak. So there's valid arguments for both sets of beliefs when it comes to Gold and Platinum achievements.

The songs featured on these two 1987 albums are as follows...

1. The Streak; 1974
2. Shriner's Convention; 1980
3. It's Me Again, Margaret; 1984
4. Turn Your Radio On; 1971
5. Misty; 1975
6. Mississippi Squirrel Revival; 1984
7. Gitarzan; 1969
8. Ahab the Arab; 1969 {re-recording}
9. Along Came Jones; 1969
10. Everything Is Beautiful; 1970
11. Would Jesus Wear a Rolex; 1987
12. Can He Love You Half as Much as I?; 1986
13. The Blue Cyclone; 1985 {radio edit}
14. I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow; 1979
15. Mama's in the Sky with Elvis; 1987
16. Mr. Businessman; 1968
17. The Haircut song; 1985
18. Jeremiah Peabody's Green and Purple Pills; 1961
19. Freddie Feelgood; 1969
20. In The Mood; 1976

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