Charlie Rich got his start at Sun records, where he played on sessions for that label artists including Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Justis, and Carl Mann and wrote songs recorded by Lewis, Cash, and others. In 1960, Rich had a top thirty hit with “Lonely Weekends” on the Sun subsidiary, Phillips International Records. He moved to Smash records in 1965, and his first release, “Mohair Sam” became another top thirty hit. However, it was in country music that he would make his greatest impact by developing a style that would be instrumental in crossing that genre over to pop radio.
Rich signed to the Nashville division of Epic records and began a string of country hits in 1972 with “I’ll Take it Home”. In 1973, the title track from his album, Behind Closed Doors, became his first number one country hit and became a top twenty pop hit as well, helping to kick off the phenomena of country to pop music crossover that marked the next decade. “Behind Closed Doors” became an RIAA certified million seller and the album was certified gold as well. Rich’s follow-up, “The Most Beautiful Girl”, topped both the country and pop charts and earned him another gold record. RCA records, for whom Rich had previously recorded, reissued tracks including “”There Won’t Be Anymore”, “I Don’t See Me in Your Eyes Anymore’ and “She Called Me Baby” which likewise made both charts. He recorded more crossover hits for Epic, including “A Very Special Love Song’, which barely missed the national pop top ten, “I Love My Friend”, “My Elusive Dreams” and “Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High)”.
Charlie Rich earned many industry awards in 1973, including Country Music Association’s Best Male Vocalist, Album of the Year (Behind Closed Doors) , and Single of the Year (“Behind Closed Doors”). Rich received 1973 Academy of Country Music awards for Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Top Male Vocalist. In 1974, Rich won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance (“Behind Closed Doors’) and the CMA named him Entertainer of the Year and A Very Special Love Song as Album of the Year. “Behind Closed Doors” won the first Favorite Country Single award at the American Music Awards and “I Feel Love (Benji’s Theme)” from the movie Benji, which Rich performed ,was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1975, Rich received two American Music Awards; Favorite Country Male Artist and the second Favorite Country Single award (“Most Beautiful Girl”).
In 1998, “Behind Closed Doors” won the Grammy Hall of Fame award.