Promotional picture of 4 Runner, 1995. L-R: Lee Hillard, Craig Morris, Billy Crittenden, and Jim Chapman.
|Origin||Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.|
|Years active||1993-1996, 2003|
|Labels||Polydor Nashville, A&M, Fresh|
|Associated acts||Craig Morgan
|Past members||Jim Chapman
4 Runner was an American country music vocal group founded in 1993 by lead singer Craig Morris, baritone Billy Crittenden, tenor Lee Hilliard, and bass Jim Chapman. Signed to Polydor Records Nashville, the quartet released its self-titled debut album in 1995, led off by the single "Cain's Blood." 4 Runner released three singles from this album, and recorded a second, unreleased album for A&M Records before disbanding. Chapman, Hilliard and Morris reunited with new baritone singer Michael Lusk to release its next album, Getaway Car, on the Fresh label.
4 Runner began in 1993, when lead singer Craig Morris (who had previously worked with Ronnie McDowell and Marie Osmond) met Billy Crittenden in Nashville, Tennessee while both singers were working as songwriters. Later, Jim Chapman (the brother-in-law of contemporary Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman) and Lee Hilliard joined as well, forming the group. The group then toured throughout the 1990s with Kenny Rogers. In 1994, Diamond Rio had a Top 5 country hit with "Love a Little Stronger", which Billy Crittenden co-wrote, and Morris co-wrote Reba McEntire's "If I Had Only Known".
4 Runner was signed a record deal with Polydor Records' Nashville division in 1995. The same year, their debut album was released, with the single "Cain's Blood" (which was co-written by country-pop artist Michael Johnson and former Poco member Jack Sundrud) serving as lead-off single. The single reached a peak of 26 on the Billboard country music charts and 14 on the RPM country charts in Canada. While the album's other three singles failed to make Top 40 on the country charts in the U.S., the second single ("A Heart with 4 Wheel Drive") was also a Top 20 hit in Canada, and the album sold more than 200,000 copies in the United States.
Due to a restructuring of Polydor, 4 Runner was transferred to A&M Records for its second album, One for the Ages. Also, Billy Simon replaced Crittenden on baritone vocals. The lead single was "That Was Him (This Is Now)", written by Keith Urban and Vernon Rust. Although it entered the country charts, the album itself was not released due to the closure of Polydor/A&M's Nashville unit in 1996. 4 Runner soon disbanded, and Chapman returned to working as an art teacher.
Reunion and second disbanding
In 2002, three of the original members re-united, with Michael Lusk as baritone vocalist. They released an a cappella rendition of the Christmas song "What Child Is This?" late that year. A second album, Getaway Car, was released in 2003, producing a number 59 single in "Forrest County Line". The title track was later a Top 40 country hit for The Jenkins in 2004, and a number 21 Adult Contemporary hit for Hall & Oates in 2005. 4 Runner also provided background vocals on Craig Morgan's 2003 single "God, Family and Country", which they also recorded on Getaway Car. This album included their own rendition of "Love a Little Stronger" as well. Shortly after Getaway Car was recorded, a single called "We Will Hope With You" was released although it was never put on an album.
4 Runner disbanded again after Getaway Car. Morris now plays piano and sings backing vocals in Loretta Lynn's backing band, of which Simon and Hilliard are also members. Crittenden is married to songwriter Pam "Sunny" Russ and is now a real estate agent in Missoula, Montana.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|US Country||US||US Heat||CAN Country|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Country||US Bubbling||CAN Country|
|1995||"Cain's Blood"||26||18||14||4 Runner|
|"A Heart with 4 Wheel Drive"||51||—||18|
|"That Was Him (This Is Now)"||54||—||—||One for the Ages (unreleased)|
|2002||"What Child Is This?"||—||—||*||N/A|
|2003||"Getaway Car"||—||—||*||Getaway Car|
|"Forrest County Line"||59||—||*|
|2005||"We Will Hope with You"||—||—||*||N/A|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart
* denotes unknown peak positions
|"A Heart with 4 Wheel Drive"|
|2002||"What Child Is This"||Glenn Sweitzer|
|"Forrest County Line"||Glenn Sweitzer|
|2004||"One Ragged Angel"|
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- allmusic ((( 4 Runner > Biography )))
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- 4 Runner Biography : OLDIES.com
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- "Paragould couple stays tied to northeast Arkansas". The Associated Press. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "About Me". Montana Properties.biz. Retrieved 14 January 2014.