Trivia / Ray Stevens

  • Approval of God: Barry Manilow reportedly loved Stevens' parody of him in "I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow".
  • Black Sheep Hit: Although he was more known for his novelty songs, his biggest hit was the sensitive pop ballad "Everything Is Beautiful".
  • Follow Up Failure: Both of his #1 hits on the Hot 100 were followed by duds. "Everything Is Beautiful" was succeeded by two more serious songs ("America, Communicate with Me" and "Sunset Strip") which both bombed, as did the novelty "Bridget the Midget" and a string of gospel songs. He stopped charting entirely for a time, but then came back with "The Streak"... whose followup, "The Moonlight Special", stalled at #73.
  • He Also Did: Besides being a recording artist he's also had a long run on the Nashville music scene, working as a producer, arranger, session musician, and owner of a recording studio. He produced some of Dolly Parton's earliest work, and played trumpet (!) on a couple songs for Elvis Presley.
  • Hitless Hit Album: I Have Returned managed to go gold (in an era where that was rare for a country album) despite its best single only reaching #45. Crackin' Up! was also a hot seller despite not producing a top 40 hit, either.
  • Missing Episode: A 2000 album titled Ear Candy was apparently never released, but most of its songs appeared on Osama— Yo' Mama: The Album one year later. A later album, Thank You!, is listed as having a 2004 release on his website, but it does not appear to have been released either.
  • Playing Against Type: While Stevens is best known as a novelty artist, he has shown he can be a fine balladeer and quite a fine singer of both mainstream contemporary pop and gospel. A prime example was the 1975 album Misty, which was covers of ballads from the 1920s to late 1950s, of which the title track was a top 5 country and adult contemporary smash and top 15 pop hit. "Everything is Beautiful," from 1970, was a plea of tolerance and unity, while he has also covered many gospel and contemporary Christian songs through the years.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: His 1960 single "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" was withdrawn through fear of a lawsuit from the rights holders of the TV show Challenge of the Yukon.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: He's got a ton of them.
    • "America, Communicate with Me", mentions the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, as well as the societal turmoils of the late 60s-early 70s. It even opens with snippets of interviews of contemporary protesters.
    • "The Streak": Streaking is still done now and then, but the craze was the most popular in the 1970s.
    • "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex": The controversies surrounding televangelists in the late 80s.
    • "Working for the Japanese": A mocking (and uncharacteristically vicious) look at the invasion of Japanese-made products in America in The '90s.
    • "The People's Court": A 1986 parody of, well, The People's Court, referencing original judge Joseph Wapner (who left the show in 1993).
    • "Osama Yo' Mama": Obviously, a post-9/11 mockery of you-know-who.
    • His more politically charged music released in The New '10s are beginning to suffer from this.


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