Bobby Bare

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Bobby Bare Sr.
Bare performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 2017
Bare performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 2017
Background information
Birth nameRobert Joseph Bare
Born (1935-04-07) 7 April 1935 (age 86)
OriginIronton, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1956–present
Associated acts

Robert Joseph Bare Sr. (born April 7, 1935) is an American country music singer and songwriter, best known for the songs "Marie Laveau", "Detroit City" and "500 Miles Away from Home".[1] He is the father of Bobby Bare Jr., also a musician.

Early career[edit]

In the 1950s, Bare repeatedly tried and failed to sell his songs.[2] He finally got a record deal, with Capitol Records, and recorded a few unsuccessful rock and roll singles.[1] Just before he was drafted into the United States Army, he wrote a song called "The All American Boy"[3] and did a demo for his friend, Bill Parsons, to learn how to record. Instead of using Parsons' later version, the record company, Fraternity Records, decided to go with Bare's original demo.[1] The record reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but Fraternity erroneously credited Bill Parsons on the label.[4][5] The same track, with the same billing error, peaked at No. 22 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1959.[6] In 1965, an album of older recorded material, Tender Years (JM-6026), was released on the Hilltop label. That same year, the material was repackaged by Sears and released under the title Bobby In Song (SPS-115). These albums are not usually included in Bare's published discographies.

Career at RCA Victor (1962–1970)[edit]

Bare's big break in country music came when Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Victor. His debut single for the label was 1962's "Shame On Me". Follow-up "Detroit City" reached No. 6 Country,[5] No. 16 Hot 100,[4] and in 1964 earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. Then a surge of hits followed, including "500 Miles Away from Home" (based on a traditional folk ballad written by Hedy West as "500 Miles")[4] and Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds". In 1965 he received two further Grammy nominations for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance and Best Country & Western single for the latter song. In 1966, he received a yet another Grammy Nomination for Best Country & Western Male Vocal Performance for his song "Talk Me Some Sense". He also recorded two duet albums with Skeeter Davis[1] and recorded six tracks as a trio with Norma Jean and Liz Anderson, which produced a major hit with "The Game of Triangles", a wife-husband-other woman drama that hit No. 5 on the Billboard chart and earned the trio a Grammy nomination. In 1968, he recorded an album with a group from England called The Hillsiders.[7][8] In 1969, he had a Top 5 hit with Tom T. Hall's "(Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn".[5]

Career at Mercury (1970–1972)[edit]

Bare moved to Mercury Records in 1970 and immediately scored a Top 3 hit with "How I Got To Memphis",[1] and also had two Top 10 hits with early Kris Kristofferson compositions, "Come Sundown" and "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" (both 1971).[1][5] He also scored a #12 hit in 1972 with a version of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show's pop hit "Sylvia's Mother", written by Shel Silverstein.

Return to RCA (1973–1977)[edit]

After two years at Mercury, Bare returned to RCA in 1973[1] and scored once more with Billy Joe Shaver's "Ride Me Down Easy", which nearly made the Top 10.

Bare started to release novelty songs recorded live with selected audiences. One such song, "Marie Laveau", topped the country chart in 1974; the song was Bare's only #1 hit.[1] It was co-written by his friends Silverstein and Baxter Taylor, who received a BMI Award for the song in 1975.

In 1977, Bare released an entire album of songs by songwriter Bob McDill called Me and McDill, which contained the popular hit "Look Who I'm Cheatin' On Tonight."[9]

Silverstein penned other songs for Bare including a Grammy-nominated hit, "Daddy What If", which he recorded with his five-year-old son, Bobby Bare Jr.[1] The song was an immediate success as well, not only reaching #2 on the country charts, but nearly reaching the Top 40 on the pop charts. Bare's album, Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies, became his most commercially successful album, finding him a new audience with pop radio once again playing his songs and also gaining a new following with college kids.[1] These songs, all 14 written or co-written by Shel Silverstein, however, would become Bare's last Top 10 hits.

Bare later recorded a very successful album with his family, written mainly by Silverstein, called Singin' in the Kitchen. It was nominated in Best Group category in Grammy Awards, but was declined by Bare himself.[citation needed] He continued to record critically acclaimed albums and singles. His biggest hits during this time included "Alimony" (1975), "The Winner" (1976), and "Drop Kick Me, Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life)" (an unusual Christian-football waltz, and a 1976 Grammy nominee for Best Country Song).[10] In 1977 he recorded "Redneck Hippie Romance"[11] and "Vegas" (a duet with his wife Jeannie).

Career at Columbia (1978–1983)[edit]

Bare signed with Columbia Records and continued to have hits like "Sleep Tight Good Night Man", which barely cracked the Top 10 in 1978, alongside continuing to score critical acclaim with his releases Bare and Sleeper Wherever I Fall.[1] In 1979, he started off Rosanne Cash's career in a big way by being her duet partner on the Top 20 hit "No Memories Hangin' Round".[1] In 1980, he almost cracked the Top 10 with "Numbers", which came from his album Down and Dirty.[1] On that album, Bare started to experiment with Southern rock, which continued with his following album, Drunk and Crazy (1980).[1] The next year, Bare returned to his country roots with his Rodney Crowell-produced album As Is, featuring the single "New Cut Road". Bare was still doing well chartwise into the early 1980s. In 1983, his duet with Lacy J. Dalton, "It's A Dirty Job", hit the Top 30. His last trip into the Top 30 came that summer with the novelty song "The Jogger". He also released "Used Cars", the theme song from the film of the same name.

Eurovision 2012[edit]

In January and February 2012, Bare joined up with Petter Øien at the 2012 Melodi Grand Prix to choose Norway's entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in May. His song "Things Change" got through to the Norwegian final where Øien and Bare finished third.

Film career[edit]

Bare was also given an opportunity to star in movies. He acted in a Western with Troy Donahue, A Distant Trumpet, and had a memorable scene being branded for desertion, and a few episodes of the TV series No Time for Sergeants. He turned his back on Hollywood to pursue his country career.

Later country career (1983–present)[edit]

From 1983 to 1988, Bare hosted Bobby Bare and Friends on The Nashville Network which featured him interviewing songwriters who sang their hit songs on the show.

In 1985, Bare signed with EMI America Records where he scored 3 low-charting singles.

In 1998, he formed the band, Old Dogs, with his friends Jerry Reed, Mel Tillis and Waylon Jennings.

In 2005, he released his first new album in two decades, The Moon Was Blue, produced[12] by his son Bobby Bare Jr., who is also a musician. He continues to tour today.

In 2012, Bare performed a duet of the song "I'd Fight The World" on the Jamey Johnson album Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran.

On April 10, 2013, the CMA announced that Bare would be a 2013 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Other 2013 Inductees include Cowboy Jack Clement and Kenny Rogers.[13]

After being inducted in the 1960s but gradually drifting away, Bare was reinstated as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on April 7, 2018 by Garth Brooks.[14]



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US CAN Country
1963 "Detroit City" And Other Hits 9 119 RCA Victor
500 Miles Away from Home 9 133
1964 The Travelin' Bare 14
1965 Tunes for Two (with Skeeter Davis) 8
Constant Sorrow
1966 The Best of Bobby Bare
Talk Me Some Sense 6
The Streets of Baltimore 7
This I Believe 17
1967 The Game of Triangles (with Norma Jean & Liz Anderson) 16
A Bird Named Yesterday 20
The English Country Side (with The Hillsiders) 29
1968 The Best of Bobby Bare - Volume 2 33
1969 (Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn
(And Other Controversial Country Songs)
1970 Your Husband My Wife (with Skeeter Davis)
The Real Thing
This Is Bare Country 37 Mercury
1971 Where Have All the Seasons Gone 44
I Need Some Good News Bad
1972 What Am I Gonna Do? 19
High and Dry
1973 I Hate Goodbyes / Ride Me Down Easy 31 RCA Victor
Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies 5
1974 Singin' in the Kitchen (Bobby Bare and Family) 27
1975 Hard Time Hungrys 33
Cowboys and Daddys 21
1976 The Winner and Other Losers 18 205
1977 Me and McDill 27
1978 Bare 44 Columbia
Sleeper Wherever I Fall
1980 Down & Dirty 21 4
Drunk & Crazy 47 17
1981 As Is 43 204
1982 Ain't Got Nothin' to Lose 29
1983 Drinkin' from the Bottle
1998 Old Dogs (with Waylon Jennings, Jerry Reed, & Mel Tillis) 61 Warner Bros
2005 The Moon Was Blue Dualtone
2012 Darker Than Light Plowboy Records
2017 Things Change Hypermedia Nashville
2020 Great American Saturday Night Sony Music Entertainment


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1958 "The All American Boy" (incorrectly labeled as Bill Parsons) 2 Detroit City
1961 "Book of Love" 106
1962 "Shame on Me" 18 23
"I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today" 118
1963 "Detroit City" 6 16 4
"500 Miles Away from Home" 5 10 4 500 Miles Away from Home
1964 "Miller's Cave" 4 33 12 The Best of Bobby Bare
"Have I Stayed Away Too Long" 47 94 singles only
"He Was a Friend of Mine" 134
"Four Strong Winds" 3 60 9 40 The Best of Bobby Bare
1965 "A Dear John Letter" (with Skeeter Davis) 11 114 Tunes for Two
"Times Are Gettin' Hard" 30 Constant Sorrow
"It's All Right" 7 122
"Just to Satisfy You" 31
"Talk Me Some Sense" 26 Talk Me Some Sense
1966 "In the Same Old Way" 34 131 single only
"Streets of Baltimore" 5 124 Streets of Baltimore
"The Game of Triangles" (with Liz Anderson and Norma Jean) 5 The Game of Triangles
"Homesick" 38
1967 "Charlestown Railroad Tavern" 16 The Best of Bobby Bare Vol. 2
"Come Kiss Me Love" 14
"The Piney Wood Hills" 15
1968 "Find Out What's Happenin'" 15 5 English Country Side
"Little Bit Later on Down the Line" 14 7 Talk Me Some Sense
"Town That Broke My Heart" 16 21 single only
1969 "(Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn" 4 7 Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn
"Which One Will It Be" 19 single only
"God Bless America Again" 16 This Is Bobby Bare
1970 "Your Husband, My Wife" (with Skeeter Davis) 22 Your Husband, My Wife
"How I Got to Memphis" 3 22 This Is Bare Country
"Come Sundown" 7 122 6
1971 "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" 8 3 Where Have All the Seasons Gone
"Short and Sweet" 57 I Need Some Good News Bad
1972 "What Am I Gonna Do" 13 24 What Am I Gonna Do
"Sylvia's Mother" 12 17
1973 "I Hate Goodbyes" 25 38 I Hate Goodbyes/Ride Me Down Easy
"Ride Me Down Easy" 11 4
"You Know Who" 30 13
1974 "Daddy, What If"A (with Bobby Bare Jr.) 2 41 14 5 53 Lullabys, Legends and Lies
"Marie Laveau" 1 1
"Where'd I Come From" (with Bobby Bare Jr. and Jeannie BareB) 41 Singin' in the Kitchen
1975 "Singin' in the Kitchen" (with His Family) 29 43
"Back in Huntsville Again" 23 14 Hard Time Hungries
"Alimony" 18 38
"Cowboys and Daddys" 29 20 Cowboys and Daddys
1976 "The Winner" 13 The Winner and Other Losers
"Put a Little Lovin' on Me" 23 23
"Drop Kick Me Jesus" 17 18
1977 "Vegas" (with Jeannie Bare) 30 The Essential Bobby Bare
"Look Who I'm Cheatin' on Tonight" 21 10 Me and McDill
"Red-Neck Hippie Romance" 85 Single only
1978 "Too Many Nights Alone" 29 15 Bare
"Sleep Tight Good Night Man" 11 8
1979 "Healin'" 23 30 Sleep Wherever I Fall
"'Til I Gain Control Again" 42 47 Single only
"No Memories Hangin' Round" (with Rosanne Cash) 17 38 Bobby Bare: The Columbia Years
1980 "Numbers" 11 26 Down and Dirty
"Tequila Sheila" 31 64
"Food Blues" 41 63 Drunk and Crazy
"Willie Jones" (with Charlie Daniels) 19 15
1981 "Learning to Live Again" 28 As Is
"Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go)" 28 34
"Dropping Out of Sight" 35
1982 "New Cut Road" 18 32
"If You Ain't Got Nothin' (You Got Nothin' to Lose)" 31 31 Ain't Got Nothin' to Lose
"(I'm Not) A Candle in the Wind" 37
"Praise the Lord and Send Me the Money" 83
1983 "It's a Dirty Job" (with Lacy J. Dalton) 30 Bobby Bare: The Columbia Years
"The Jogger" 29 19 Drinkin' from the Bottle
"Diet Song" 69
1985 "When I Get Home" 53 51 Singles only
"Reno and Me" 76
1986 "Wait Until Tomorrow"
2005 "Are You Sincere" The Moon Was Blue
2012 "Things Change" (with Petter Øien) Melodi Grand Prix - Norge 2012
  • A"Daddy, What If" also peaked at No. 19 on the RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks chart in Canada.
  • BCredited as "Bobby Bare Jr. and 'Mama'."

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist US Country
1967 "Chet's Tune" Some of Chet's Friends 38
1999 "Still Gonna Die"[16] Old Dogs
2018 "I Don't Dance" Dawn Landes

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
2005 "Are You Sincere" Roger Pistole


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 91. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ "Bobby Bare Biography". Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 7 - The All American Boy: Enter Elvis and the rock-a-billies. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  4. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2000). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, p.49. ISBN 0-8230-7690-3.
  5. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits, p.38-39. ISBN 0-8230-7632-6.
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 419. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "Alan Cackett - Bobby Bare". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  8. ^ The English Countryside, RCA Victor SF-7918 (LSP-3896)
  9. ^ "Me and McDill". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  10. ^ Langer, Emily (October 20, 2014). "Paul Craft, who wrote country classics including 'Dropkick Me, Jesus,' dies at 76". Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  11. ^ Halsey, Derek (September 5, 2010). "George Jones, Bobby Bare to headline annual concert in Catlettsburg". The Herald-Dispatch. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  12. ^ "Bobby Bare: The Return Of The Quiet Outlaw". American Chronicle. 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  13. ^ "Country Hall of Fame Elects Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare, Jack Clement". April 10, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  14. ^ Watts, Cindy. "Garth Brooks welcomes Bobby Bare into Opry membership". The Tennessean. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.
  16. ^ "Singles". Billboard: 16. April 17, 1999.

Other sources[edit]

  • Vinicur, Dale. (1998). "Bobby Bare". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 28–29.
  • Bobby Bare Sr. Interview NAMM Oral History Library (2017)

External links[edit]