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Statler Brothers On Top In ‘85 With ‘Too Much On My Heart’

The family group from Staunton, Virginia were giants of the traditional country music scene by the mid-1980s.

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Statler Brothers

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.

Pardners In Rhyme Statler BrosThat 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 ten 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 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 31 August 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 30 November, ‘Too Much On My Heart’ completed its rise to No. 1 to become the Statler Brothers’ final country chart-topper.

Follow uDiscover’s Statler Brothers Best Of playlist.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mary

    August 31, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I have been a fan of the Statler brothers for many years.

    Mary jane

  2. uDiscover

    August 31, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Us too, Mary Jane!

  3. Sarah

    August 31, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Even though I was only 4 in 1985, I have always loved the Statler Brothers, thanks to my country music loving mother and grandfather! 🙂 “Too Much on My Heart” is one of my top favorites! As a child, I always looked forward to watching their show on TV in the late 80s and 90s. :). Thank you for helping keep the memories alive!

    • uDiscover

      August 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Sarah, we hear you! And we’re with you!

  4. Arlene Hurst

    August 31, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I fell in love with the Statlers many years ago & I believe I have a copy of every song they recorded . It was a very sad day when they stopped being a part of my Saturday night TV . I always felt they wrote their songs for me . I could relate to them all . Harold & I are the same age . Had always planned on going to see them but was never able to do so . Your faithful follower….Arlene Hurst

  5. Dee

    August 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Where are they now and & how are there?

  6. Dee

    August 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Where are they now and & how are there?

  7. Dee

    August 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Where are they now and & how are there?

  8. gloria shaeffer

    August 31, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    The Statler always have been and always be my favorite. I listen to them all the time even now. Was so very blessed to see them in person several times at Renfro Valley in Kentucky
    So glad this is available so we can listen to this wonderful music
    Thank you Statler Brothers for the beautiful music

  9. Carol

    September 1, 2015 at 2:40 am

    My all time favorite always. Their final concert was beautiful but broke my heart that it was the final one. Saw them many times and concert and loved them even more each and every time. They are the best. Love you guys. Thanks for all the music and love you have given all of us

  10. Mike Ballard

    September 1, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    The Statlers are all doing okay with the exception of Phil, who lost his wife, Wilma, earlier this year. They had been married many years. One of Phil’s children, a son, died in a drowning accident about three years ago. So please remember Phil and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Don, Phil, and Harold all live in Staunton, Va, their hometown. Harold and Phil recently turned 76; Don is around 70. Jimmy is much younger and continues to perform. He and his wife live in the Nashville area. Harold’s and Don’s sons have a duo, and they stay busy performing. Opened shows for the late George Jones for several years.

    • Linda

      September 1, 2017 at 3:35 am

      Thanks for the update on the Statler’s. They’ve been my faves since Johnny Cash day. Met them for the 1st time when they backed for John in Memphis — early ’70’s, I think. Great talent and great guys! BTW, would you happen to be a cousin of mine from Rt. 1, Box 160, with grandparents who had a horse named Shorty? If so, email me — I’d love to catch up.

  11. ralgh williamson

    September 12, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Where’s Lester Moran an the Cadillac Cowboys??? Really enjoy the Statlers!

  12. grace seitz

    August 31, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    you guys were the best. I have all your cd’s in my car and I listen to you everytime I drive anywhere. I am glad that you still put things on facebook. I wish all four of you were there to accept the award in september, but I understand if Harold and Phil want to stay back. To each his own. I miss seeing you in concert and I wish all of you the very best.

  13. Eugene Jaumot

    August 31, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Love your music. My Mother was from Stanton Va. Virgie Afford from the Hoy family They had A Farm of 365 ACRES . I still have cousin in Stanton. they had Ods service station. Its still there.

  14. Cliff Wilson

    September 4, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Can we still order a copy of the Statler’s farewell tour? I have injoyed their music for many years.

  15. Ellen

    August 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    The best group..

  16. Ruth Kemmitz

    September 1, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I love me some Statlers Brothers! Best group ever! I never had the blessing of seeing them perform, but I still listen to them everyday! My heart was broken when they stopped performing, but I could understand their reasoning. God Bless them as they blessed us with their music!

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