It's probably no exaggeration to say that Charlie Rich was the most eclectic musician ever to be called country.  His natural style was supper club jazz.  It's certainly the style with which he began his professional career.

His success came first with rock and roll, then R&B and finally with countrypolitan county music. He signed with Sun Records in 1954, first as a song writer and a backup pianist, then as a performer.  As a song writer he wrote for Johnny Cash, Jenny Lee Lewis and other Sun artists.  In 1967, he signed on with Epic Records.

Charlie broke through with "I Take It On Home" and it was "Behind Closed Doors" that became a giant pop, country and international hit in 1973.  In fact he was CMA'S 1973 Male Vocalist of the Year and 1974 Entertainer of the Year.  Other number one hits included:  "The Most Beautiful Girl," "A Very Special Love Song," "I Love My Friend" and "Rollin' With the Flow."

Charlie was traveling to Florida with his wife, Margaret where he watched his son perform with Freddy Fender at a casino.  When he experienced a bout of severe coughing, after visiting a doctor, he continued traveling until he stopped  for the night.  He died in his sleep on July 25, 1995, in a Louisiana motel, the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism.  Rich was married to Margaret for 43 years.  He was the father of four children.

Hear the life and music of Charlie Rich Sunday July 29th at 11 AM on the Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight.  It's segment of the country classic show 9 AM to 1 PM every Sunday on 98.1 FM 98 Country.