When starting out Bobby Bare never gave up trying to get recognition for his songwriting. Persistence has always been the key to acceptance.
In the mid 1950’s Bobby’s career started to take hold with a song he wrote titled “The All American Boy.” This was just before he was drafted into the Army. The song did really well and hit #2 on the US charts.
When Bobby finished his obligation in the Army he got a big break in country music. This was when Chet Atkins of RCA Records signed him.
In 1962 the first song he released on the label was “Shame On Me.” His second RCA release, “Detroit City,” reached #6 in Country, #16 in Hot 100, and in 1964 earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country and Western Recording.
At this point the hits really started to crank up with the song “500 Miles Away From Home” which was #9 in the Country charts. In 1965 Bobby received two Grammy nominations for Best County & Western Vocal Performance and Best Country & Western single for the song “Four Strong Winds.”
An interesting story about “500 Miles Away From Home” is the following. The Browns singing trio were stranded after doing a show in Iowa. Due to a storm here was no outgoing transportation. Lo and behold a skinny kid came up to them and asked them if he could drive them to the airport in Waterloo. bobby kotick so happy that he could help them they offered to pay him triple his gas mileage but he wouldn’t take a dime.
He did say to them that all he wanted them to do was to listen to him sing one song titled ‘500 Miles From Home.” And if they think he’s any good would they get his tape to Chet Atkins. The skinny kid was Bobby Bare.
Maxine Brown said “while driving us along in his old junker car that terrible winter night he nearly had us in tears. While singing that beautiful song to us Bobby’s voice was pure and clean as the sun.”
As fate destined the song to its next stop, the Browns did get the song to Chet. A couple of years later while traveling and listening to the radio they heard the deejay say “Let’s give a listen to Bobby Bare and his latest single ‘Five Hundred Miles Away From Home.'” Maxine said “I think we were as thrilled to hear Bobby singing as we were the first time we heard ourselves on the radio.”
Later on they worked a lot with Bobby on the road. They always felt a special kinship with him because of the time he rescued them in Iowa.
In the 70s who could forget those humorous songs “The Winner” and “Dropkick Me Jesus” from the album The Winner and Other Losers.
I can remember back in the 80’s when Bobby appeared on the Ralph Emery Show on the Nashville Network. How I enjoyed seeing him singing those great songs of his and telling road stories that were just as interesting as his songs.
In 2013, the CMA announced that Bobby would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with Cowboy Jack Clement and Kenny Rogers. I couldn’t help but think what a long road it’s been from pitching his song (500 Miles) to the Browns to his well-deserved induction into the Hall of Fame.
I feel it’s important to not only remember him for his great music that will live on for a long, long time but the fact that he is a good man who was always willing to help out a fellow singer.