Thursday, November 27, 2008

Eddie Rabbitt

Edward Thomas Rabbitt was born to Irish immigrants on this day in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised in East Orange, New Jersey.

In the early 1960's, he had done some recording with 20th Century Records and Columbia, but his career as a songwriter really started to take off after he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1968. His first major break, and one of his biggest successes as a songwriter, came a year later in 1969 when Elvis Presley recorded his song "Kentucky Rain". He also penned "Pure Love" which was a hit for Ronnie Milsap.

Eddie signed with Elektra records in 1974 and had a couple of Top 40 records, but didn't hit a #1 until 1976 with "Drinkin' My Baby (Off My Mind)". He also had hits with "You Don't Love Me Anymore"; "We Can't Go On Living Like This"; "Rocky Mountain Music"; "Two Dollars in the Jukebox"; "Gone Too Far"; "Pour Me Another Tequila" and "Every Which Way But Loose" (from the movie of the same name with Clint Eastwood).

The Academy of Country Music named him the "Top New Male Vocalist" in 1977 and in 1981 he was named "Best Pop Male Vocalist" at the American Music Awards.

His rising star as a Country/Pop crossover artist rose even higher in the early 1980's with hits like: "I Love a Rainy Night" (Pop #1), "Drivin' My Life Away" (Pop #5), and "Step By Step" (Pop #5). In 1982, he recorded a duet with Crystal Gayle called "You and I" which became a huge hit on both country and pop charts. He also did a #1 hit duet with Juice Newton; "Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)".

Some of his other chart toppers included: "Someone Could Loose A Heart Tonight"; "The Best Year Of My Life"; "On Second Thought"; "You Can't Run From Love"; "Suspicions"; "I Don't Know Where To Start"; "Hearts On Fire"; "She's Comin' Back to Say Goodbye" and "I Wanna Dance With You". His last charted song was "Hang Up The Phone" in 1991.

Eddie wrote many of his own songs - often in collaboration with fellow songwriter Even Stevens. He also had success with a cover of The Dions song "The Wanderer".

Through his career, Eddie Rabbitt had 16 #1's on the Country Music charts and eight Top 40 hits on the Pop Charts. Eddie recorded 15 studio albums and his songs also appear on at least a dozen specialty and compilation recordings. He continued to record and tour through the 1980's but did little in the early 1990's due to the illness and death of his infant son. He was active in helping to raise money and awareness for organizations that aid sick kids.

Eddie Rabbitt, died of lung cancer at age 56 on May 7, 1998.

I loved The music that Eddie Rabbitt recorded! I was lucky enough to see him perform at the Centennial Concert Hall here in Winnipeg in the mid 1980's. He gave a great performance, singing many of his hits, several lesser known songs and displaying his talents as a guitar player and all around talented performer.

I have almost all of his old vinyl albums and a couple of CD's. I've put about two dozen of my favourite Eddie Rabbitt songs on to mp3 and always crank up the volume and sing along when I hear one of his songs on the radio. For awhile in the early 1980's, I was even a member of his fan club! It is really hard to choose an all time favourite song of his, but I could probably narrow it down to these three:
- "I Love A Rainy Night" (1980)
- "I Don't Know Where To Start" (1982)
- "The Wander" (1988)

Eddie Rabbitt may be gone, but his talent and and his catalogue of recordings will be loved and enjoyed forever.


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