Eddie Rabbitt

  • Country music singer, songwriter and guitarist, born in 1941 in Brooklyn New York. Died in 1998 from lung cancer.
  • His father was skilled at playing the fiddle and accordion – he performed at dance halls in New York. Eddie started playing the guitar before he was a teenager, and as he grew, he took an interest in country music. He started playing at a club in New Jersey, and he won a talent contest – the prize was an hour of radio time to showcase his talent. He signed a recording deal in 1964, but 2 singles that he released went nowhere. Four years later, with lifetime savings of $1,000, he moved to Nashville to be a songwriter.
  • He did odd jobs before he was hired by a publishing company. His breakthrough as a song writer was with Kentucky Rain, which Elvis Presley took to #16 in 1969. His first #1 song as a songwriter was Ronnie Milsap’s Pure Love in 1974 – it led to a recording deal for Rabbitt.
  • His debut album, the self titled Eddie Rabbit, was released in 1975. Three singles charted on the Country chart, with I Should Have Married You peaking at #11. Four more albums were released in the 70s, and 12 singles from these albums all were top 10 hits on the Country chart, with 6 songs reaching #1. His first #1 was Drinking My Baby (Off My Mind) in 1976. He also contributed the theme song to the film Every Which Way But Loose – the title track peaked at #1, and it was his first to crossover to the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #30.
  • From 1980 to 1982, Rabbitt released 3 albums that became crossover successes. Horizon became his best selling album, certified platinum. It contained 2 songs that were #1 on the Country chart, as well as #5 and #1 on the Hot 100 chart – Drivin’ My Life Away and I Love a Rainy Night respectively. Now at the peak of his career, he was given a TV special, and he was offered his own variety TV show, which he turned down. 1981’s Step By Step album continued his country-pop phase – 2 more songs reached #1 on the Country chart and were top 15 Hot 100 songs – the title track Step By Step, and Someone Could Lose A Heart Tonight. His last crossover hit was a duet with Crystal Gayle – You and I reached #7 on the Hot 100, and of course, was another #1 on the Country chart.
  • Three more studio albums were released in the 80s. While he no longer was charting in the pop chart, he continued to produce country hits, with 16 more top 10 country songs, 5 of which topped the Country chart. His final #1 hit was in 1989, with On Second Thought. In his career, Rabbitt had 17 songs reach #1 on the Country chart.
  • After releasing the Ten Rounds album in 1992, his popularity declined, and he did not release music again until signing a new recording deal in 1997. Soon after signing the deal, he learned that he had lung cancer. In September that year, after chemotherapy and a procedure to remove part of his lung, he released Beatin’ The Odds. In April 1998, a children’s album, Songs From Rabbittland, was released. A month later, Rabbitt died.
  • Eddie Rabbitt songs were upbeat, catchy and easy to sing along to. He considered himself a country music performer, but his crossover success certainly contributed to the path that country music took in the late 70s and early 80s, notably the Urban Cowboy era. Here is Rabbitt performing Drivin’ My Life Away – love the harmony, definitely an early example of country pop music.

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