In one of the most oddly specific pieces of music journalism to date, critic Harry Sumrall once said that Eddie Rabbitt was "like a hot corn dog: nothing fancy, nothing frilly. You know what you're getting and you like it...never a country purist, Rabbitt nonetheless makes music that is plain and simple, with all of the virtues that make good country good. [His songs] might be brisk, but they are also warm and familiar, like the breeze that wafts in over the fried artichokes."
I'm not sure exactly where the fried artichokes come in, but other than that, Sumrall hit the nail on the head. Eddie Rabbitt's music was wonderful pop-country crossover from a time when country music was earthier and less polished than it is today. Whether he was hitting the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart or wowing the fans in Nashville, his songs were plain and simple – and great.
Singer Eddie Rabbitt is shown in a 1990 photo in Nashville, Tenn. Rabbitt, a country-pop singer who topped the charts with bouncy hits like ``I Love A Rainy Night," died Friday, May 8, 1998. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Fourteen years after Eddie Rabbit's death, we've turned the stereo up for a few of his greatest hits.
In the 1960s and '70s, Rabbitt began by writing songs that became hits for Elvis Presley and Ronnie Milsap, then he went on to begin making a splash on the country charts. But his first big crossover hit was in 1978: "Every Which Way but Loose," from the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name. The single rocketed to No. 1 on the country charts and peaked at No. 30 on the Hot 100.
1980 brought Rabbit's biggest smash hit – "I Love a Rainy Night" rose to the top of every chart it could have possibly qualified for.
Though Rabbitt's later recordings didn't recapture the success of "I Love a Rainy Night" and its album mate "Drivin' My Life Away," his 1990 track "American Boy" excited audiences in the era of the first Gulf War, and Bob Dole used it in his 1996 presidential campaign.
Written by Linnea Crowther