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Razzy Bailey (1939–2021), chart-topping country singer

by Linnea Crowther

Razzy Bailey was a country singer and guitarist who had a string of No. 1 hits in the early 1980s.

Musical career

Bailey recorded his first single, “9,999,999 Tears,” in the mid-1960s, but it didn’t take off. When it later became a comeback hit for Dickey Lee, Bailey received a record deal with RCA Records and began charting early hits including 1978’s “What Time Do You Have to Be Back to Heaven” and 1979’s “If Love Had a Face.” In 1980, Bailey’s most successful period began as he hit No. 1 on the country music chart with songs including “Loving Up a Storm.” He followed it with No. 1 hits “I Keep Coming Back,” “Friends,” “Midnight Hauler,” and “She Left Love All Over Me” in 1980 and 1981. Known for adding an R&B element to his country music, Bailey continued releasing moderately popular singles throughout the ‘80s.

Bailey on the first time he was paid to play music

“[B]ack then people would have square dances or dances at an old country house. They’d take all the furniture out of one of the rooms… they’d have a big cookin’ and have a little moonshine tucked away somewhere and everybody would just come and have a good time. Me and some of the other guys stood there in the corner and played in this big ol’ country house room where everything had been cleared out and people danced. Then when we got through playin’ they took up a little collection for us and I think we made something like 60 cents apiece. We were elated because that was back in the ‘50s ya know, so we had enough to go out and get a hamburger and a coke. We was big stuff back then.” —from a 2008 interview with Bronson Herrmuth

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Tributes to Razzy Bailey

Full obituary: Wide Open Country

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