The Cowboy in Country Music: Jimmy Wakely

Of all the singing cowboys, Jimmy Wakely was the most successful in terms of Billboard chart records after World War II. As a movie star, he never rivaled Gene Autry or Roy Rogers; and the Sons of the Pioneers, Autry and Rogers were certainly more influential to later country and western singers. But in terms of records on the Billboard charts, nobody beat Jimmy Wakely. The Billboard charts began in 1944 and the country charts were based on jukebox play. Jimmy Wakely had his first chart record in 1944 when “I’m Sending You Red Roses” reached number two. Wakely began recording for Decca in 1940, when he did ten songs, including “Cimarron,” “Maria Elena,” “Too Late,” “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” and “Cattle Call.” In 1941 he did 16 songs for the label, including “Be Honest with Me,” “Gone and Left Me Blues,” “Don’t Bite the Hand That’s Feeding You,” and “Froggy Went A- Courtin’.” In 1942 he recorded “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” and three others; in 1943 he recorded four songs. Then, during the period 1944–1946 he recorded more sides for Decca. In 1947 Wakely signed with Capitol Records and had a string of hits, beginning with “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” in 1948. That same year he had number one hits with “One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart),” and “I Love You So Much It Hurts.” His record of “Mine All Mine” was also on the charts in 1948. In 1949 Wakely had “Forever More,” “Till The End of the World,” “I Wish I Had a Nickel,” “Someday You’ll Call My Name” and “Telling My Troubles to My Old Guitar” on the charts. But his biggest hits came with his duets with Margaret Whiting. “Slipping Around” reached number one on both the pop and country charts and stayed on the country charts for 28 weeks; the “B” side, “Wedding Bells,” was also a crossover hit, as was the followup single, “I’ll Never Slip Around Again. ”

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