A Final Country No. 1 For The Statler Brothers

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The Statler Brothers Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

After their initial country singles chart entry in 1965, the Statler Brothers had to wait 13 years for their first No. 1, with ‘Do You Know You Are My Sunshine.’ But then, their already impressive songbook of major hits expanded no end, with 16 more top ten singles, including two more chart-toppers, before the historic date of 30 November 1985. That’s when the group from Staunton, Virginia climbed to the top of the country countdown for the fourth and last time, with ‘Too Much On My Heart.’

The Statlers had released the album Pardners In Rhyme in the spring of 1985, and launched it with a remake of Ricky Nelson‘s pop staple ‘Hello Mary Lou.’ That became a top three country hit, and by October the album had become their first and only LP to reach No. 1.

‘Too Much On My Heart’ was written by Jimmy Fortune, the musician from Virginia who had joined the line-up of the Statler Brothers in the early 1980s to replace Lew DeWitt. Fortune’s form as a songwriter was already inarguable, as he had penned the Statlers’ second and third country chart-toppers, ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘My Only Love.’ Just eight months after the latter reached the summit, ‘Too Much’ became the group’s second No. 1 of 1985.

The Statlers continued to have major country hits until the end of the 1980s and album chart entries until 1991. Fortune released his latest solo album Hits & Hymns in October 2015, featuring collaborations with Vince Gill, the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs and others — and it includes a new version of ‘Too Much On My Heart.’

Purchase ‘Too Much On My Heart’ on the Statler Brothers’ Definitive Collection: MCA Years here.


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  1. Rose

    November 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I can name all the important moments of my life with a Statler Brother’s song. They soothed my soul when my Mother died when I was 13. I saw them in concert several times, memories of them and my husband. I had a daughter named Elizabeth…God bless them. Thank you.

  2. Mary Kempa

    November 30, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    The first time I seen the Statler Brothers was back in the sixties….they appeared with Johnny Cash in St. Joseph, Missouri. they had just begun their career in singing. I got to see them again many years later again in St. Joseph,Missouri. Love to hear them sing and have several of their cd’s. Wished they had been able to continue with their music!!

  3. Cindy

    November 30, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I was raised listening to the Statlers. They are still my favorite group. I saw them in concert too many times to count. Now my kids love them. When we are on a road trip, or when my kids are doing dishes, we put in a CD and all belt out the songs. Good memories of an excellent group.

  4. Kathleen

    December 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I will always love my Statler Brothers. Our first dance was “My Only Love”. My grands are 4 and 6 and they can sing their songs. Attended every concert in Maryland and PA. Great memories from a great group. Love their books also. They will always be a part of my life. I was so sad when they retired but they deserved it and left beautiful music for us to enjoy. Thank you for being a part of my life!!!!!

  5. violet kostashuk

    December 3, 2015 at 3:09 am

    When ever my heart needs happy songs, and great memories, I must hear you all together again, you are my friends forever.

  6. Billie S. Kuechel

    December 19, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Love this good music,

  7. Cliff

    December 25, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Merry Christmas boys, you guys are the greatest. have a copy of your final concert. Harold is a great joke teller.

  8. leroy

    December 26, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    The greatest country group of all time. Will never be outdone.

  9. Barbara

    March 30, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    They had many more hits with Lew DeWitt then what you guys give them credit for. Lew wrote some of their best music.. he is my hero because he stood up for me when I was a child when someone was being unkind.
    Also I much prefer his voice I have nothing negative to say about Jimmy Fortune I’ve seen him in concert too. Nice guy

  10. Maryanne Scaglia

    June 6, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Christmas would not be in my house without the Statlers Christmas album.Oh I miss watching them but play their disca ALWAYS

  11. Donald Rowe

    August 20, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Was lucky enough to drive them out of a concert in a police car after the concert.

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