For more than 40 years, one of the most-loved and talented country music singer/songwriters of all time helped push the genre to new heights, issued incredible music, and formed bonds with aspiring singers who would go on to become superstars themselves.
In every single sense, Earl Thomas Conley was an icon and a legend…even if he might not have been as well-played as someone like George Strait.
Just now seeing tweets that Earl Thomas Conley has passed away. So sad to hear this! He gave us so much incredible music, one of the greatest men in country music. Rest In Peace my friend.
— Stella Parton (@StellaParton) April 10, 2019
Conley first began his career in 1974 and scored his first charting single in 1975, billed as “Earl Conley,” before quickly climbing the charts and building a massive discography that’s still admired today.
He found the most successes between 1980 and 1991 with 25 Top 10 hits, and 18 of those being No. 1 chart-toppers. Truly, his legacy stands out against many and is one that has impacted our world in massive ways.
Saddened by this news of the passing of Earl Thomas Conley. We played many shows together, had battles on the charts and were label mates at RCA. He surely made great records… and left them here for all to enjoy. Rest In Peace my old friend. pic.twitter.com/HvOApHo9KP
— Steve Wariner (@stevewariner) April 10, 2019
To honor this legendary country music star and help share his legacy with others, we have compiled a list of the top seven songs from his career in a list that’s sure to bring back the memories!
7. Nobody Falls Like A Fool – 1985
The lead single from his Greatest Hits album, Conley’s “Nobody Falls Like a Fool” scored the spot as his 10th Number 1 hit on the country charts and was one of only two new tracks included on that album.
The song was written by Peter McCann and Mark Wright and quickly showed that Conley wasn’t slowing down, spending over 15 weeks on the country chart after landing at Number One.
6. “Silent Treatment” – 1980
The song that began his meteoric rise to stardom, “Silent Treatment,” was both written and recorded by Conley. The first single off of his Fire and Smoke album, it peaked at No. 7 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles & Tracks – marking his very first time earning a Top 10 hit.
5. “Brotherly Love” feat. Keith Whitley – 1991
Originally recorded by Moe Bandy, Earl Thomas Conley brought Keith Whitley to the table and made this into a duet. Later, it was also recorded by singer Billy Dean for his debut album.
The song, which would become Conley’s final hit of his career, is just one of three duets he ever released…and has served as a reminder of the greatness that can be achieved when you combine two legends on the same track.
The song was such a hit that it earned four ACM Awards nominations in 1992 and took home a CMA Award for ‘Vocal Event Of The Year’ that same year.
4. “Holding Her and Loving You” – 1983
A chart-topping hit from his score of No. 1 songs, “Holding Her and Loving You” has become one of the most covered songs by Conley in the decades since its release, and after just one listen you will understand why.
The song spent 14 weeks on the charts and was his fourth number one hit in just two years. Conley also was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards for this song.
3. “I Can’t Win for Losing You” – 1986
His 12th No. 1 single, Conley’s second single from Too Many Times came out just months after the album’s title track duet with Anita Pointer.
Billboard once reviewed the song in a very unique, but fitting, way. “[Conley] slips into a breathy, soulful voice in this R&B-flavored lament; underneath a devil-may-care exterior, he’s paying dues for a love that got away.”
2. “Don’t Make It Easy For Me” – 1984
The title track to his record-breaking album, Conley co-wrote this hit and released it in January 1984 as the third single to his album – and marked his fifth number one on the charts. Conley’s co-writer for this up-tempo 80s country ballad was none other than Randy Scruggs – the son of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs.
1. “We Believe in Happy Endings” feat. Emmylou Harris – 1988
Another one of his limited number of duets, this collaboration with icon Emmylou Harris proved to be a hit song that only continued his reign on the country charts.
His fifth-consecutive number one hit, this beautiful joint effort between these country stars showed the world what kind of beauty can be had after pairing incredible talent.
Originally released ten years prior by country singer Johnny Rodriguez, the song was a hit on Billboard‘s 1978 chart, and it only became bigger when released by Conley and Harris – spending 15 weeks on the chart and selling a seemingly-endless number of records.
Emmylou Harris also re-released the song as a remastered version on her 2008 compilation album Portraits.
With the passing of Earl Thomas Conley on April 10th, 2019, everyone in country music has felt a deep sense of loss and sadness in a dark moment of grief for the world.
Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are going out to Conley’s family, friends, and fans during this terribly difficult time.
Join us in remembering Conley in the best way possible: through his music.