Throwback Thursday: The Covington Connection to this George Strait #1 Hit
In 1984, country music star George Strait was sitting on top of the charts for the fourth time with a tune called Right Or Wrong.
By the time the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot County chart, it was actually 63 years old. Written in 1921, the music was composed by Arthur Sizemore and Paul Biese and lyrics by Covington, Kentucky-native Haven Gillespie.
Most folks from Covington know that Gillespie is most famous for writing the Christmastime staple, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. There is an historical marker in Mainstrasse Village commemorating that fact.
Right Or Wrong, meanwhile, was originally penned by the Tin Pan Alley regulars to become a jazz standard and before its country-fication, sounded like this, as recorded by the black-faced (...seriously) Emmett Miller and the Georgia (...wait for it...) Crackers in 1929:
But even George Strait's version was not the first to take our Covington boy's lyrics in the direction of Nashville. Bob Wills took a liking to the song and recorded it in 1936, years before he would become a household name for tracks like Smoke On The Water and Stars and Stripes On Iwo Jima:
But it was in 1984 when the song would achieve nationwide fame and a #1 position on the charts, thanks to future legend George Strait who released his version from an album also titled Right Or Wrong:
The success of Strait's version scored Gillespie an ASCAP award in 1985 for writing the song. The Covington native died ten years earlier, in 1975, at the age of 87. He's buried in Los Angeles.
Next time you hear George Strait's version of Right Or Wrong on the radio, know that Covington's Haven Gillespie wrote those words!