The guys in Watson’s road band, had been badgering him to let his hair grow out and let his beard grow, and he acknowledged that this occurred at the same time, as his only chart-topping record. Gene admitted that it was a drastic change in appearance and generated a lot of conversation, but as far as he was concerned, the simultaneous new look, and the success of “Fourteen Carat Mind” was strictly coincidental.
Watson is a Lone Star native, and continues to own residences in Paris, Texas and Palestine, Texas. He made his first record at the age of sixteen. A small label called Resco Records, released one of Gene’s songs, “Love In The Hot Afternoon” in 1975 and Capitol picked up the master and distributed it nationally.
It became his first hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard country chart. With that success, Watson was able to give up his Houston job, as an auto-body repairman. From there, Gene hammered out a long line of traditionally country-sounding material, most of it landing in the Top Ten, including “Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy),” “You’re Out Doing What I’m Here Doing Without,” “Memories To Burn,” “Don’t Waste It On The Blues,” “Paper Rosie,” “Pick The Wildwood Flower” and his signature song, “Farewell Party.” Most of Watson’s fans think this song was a number one hit, but in reality it peaked at #5.