The end of August 1985 was a typically busy time in the career of the Statler Brothers. The family group from Staunton, Virginia, who had built their reputation working with Johnny Cash for eight years from 1963, were giants of the traditional country music scene by the mid-80s, with a spectacular 51 entries on the country bestsellers to their name already.
That track record included three previous No.1s in their long and fruitful relationship with Mercury Records. The first of these was in 1978, with “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine,” and as they continued to produce one smash after another, they hit the top in March 1984 with “Elizabeth,” and again exactly 12 months later with “My Only Love.”
The group’s next move was the album Pardners In Rhyme, which yielded a cover of Ricky Nelson’s pop Top 10 hit of 1961,“Hello Mary Lou,” as its lead single. That gave the Statlers a No.3 country success, before they arrived at the ballad “Too Much On My Heart.”
The brothers’ good Fortune
The song was written by the group’s Jimmy Fortune, who had replaced Lew DeWitt in the Statlers’ line-up in 1983. It was part of a powerful presence by the quartet on the Billboard charts of August 31, 1985. “Too Much On My Heart” posted a 67-55 climb on the country singles chart, as “Hello Mary Lou” spent its 20th week on the survey.
Meanwhile, they were on the album survey with no fewer than three titles: the new Pardners In Rhyme was at No.9, while the preceding Atlanta Blue and Today remained in the top 75. The group were maintaining a high media profile, too, guesting on CBS TV’s Nightwatch.
That helped the new single continue its steady climb up Hot Country Singles. On November 30, “Too Much On My Heart” completed its rise to No.1 to become the Statler Brothers’ final country chart-topper.