Charly McClain

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Charly McClain
Charly McClain (2).JPG
Charly McClain performing at the Martin County Fair in Stuart, FL on March 9, 1989
Background information
Birth name Charlotte Denise McClain
Born (1956-03-26) March 26, 1956 (age 59)
Origin Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Country pop
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1976–1989
Labels Epic Records
Mercury Records
Associated acts Johnny Rodriguez, Mickey Gilley, Wayne Massey

Charlotte Denise "Charly" McClain (born March 26, 1956 in Memphis, Tennessee, United States) is an American country music singer, best known for string of country hits during the 1980s. McClain's biggest hits include "Who's Cheatin' Who," "Sleeping With the Radio On," and "Radio Heart."

Early life[edit]

Born Charlotte, she was given the nickname "Charly" by neighborhood friends in Memphis, which she later went on to use when she started playing hotel lounges. Her first experience recording was when her father, Niles McClain, had tuberculosis when she was eight. As she was under the age for visitation rights at the hospital, she had to communicate with him through a tape recorder. That inspired her interest in recording. She began her musical career at age 12 with her brother Mike, performing in their band, "Charlotte & The Volunteers", for 6 years. Her first TV appearance was on the Jackson, Tennessee, local station WBBJ morning show. By the age of 17 she was a regular on the club circuit, and appeared at the Memphis show "Mid-South Jamboree" from 1973–1975.


1976 – 1980: Country beginnings[edit]

Signed to her first recording contract in 1976, McClain's distinct vocal sound provided an edge in recognizability—as did her attractive appearance.[1]

McClain debuted in late 1976 with her first single, "Lay Down," which peaked at No. 67 on the Billboard Country Chart. McClain's initial singles in 1976 and 1977, from her debut album Here's Charly McClain, failed to chart highly on the Country charts.

McClain's second album, Let Me Be Your Baby, was released in 1978. She hit country's Top Ten for the first time in 1978 with "That's What You Do to Me," [1] followed by two other Top 25 hits, "Let Me Be Your Baby," and "Take Me Back."

In 1979 McClain released Alone Too Long (1979), which included the Top-20 hits "When A Love Ain't Right" and "You're a Part of Me". The Women Get Lonely album followed in 1980, featuring the Top 10 hit "Men," which peaked at No. 7 in 1980, and the Top-20 duet with Johnny Rodriguez, "I Hate the Way I Love It." However, breakthrough success still eluded McClain.

1981 – 1989: Breakthrough[edit]

McClain hit No. 1 on the Country charts in 1981 with "Who's Cheatin' Who." [2] This brought McClain breakthrough success for the 1980s. In 1981, McClain scored three Top-10 hits off her Surround Me With Love album: the title track, "Sleepin' With the Radio on", and "The Very Best is You". McClain's albums were beginning to become more successful as well. Her "Who's Cheatin' Who" album peaked at No. 28 on the "Top Country Albums" chart, and her 1981 album, "Surround Me With Love" went to number 9.

In 1983, McClain hit No. 1 with her Mickey Gilley duet "Paradise Tonight." [2] "McClain's and Gilley's duet partnership became so successful, they released a duet album the following year, "It Takes Believers", which spawned the Top-5 hit, "Candy Man" (#5 on the Billboard Country Chart). "The Right Stuff", which became a Top-20 hit, followed.

McClain also acted, appearing as a guest star on such shows as Hart to Hart (in 1981 episode titled "Rhinestone Harts") and CHiPs (in 1983 episode "Country Action"). McClain's lonely life on the road was also chronicled in a 1981 HBO special titled "So You Want to Be a Star."

McClain released another best-selling album, Radio Heart in 1985, after having a series of minor hits in 1984. The album's title track became a No. 1 Country hit in 1985, McClain's last No. 1 to date. The album also spawned two other Top-10 hits that year. McClain married former soap star Wayne Massey in 1984, and their duet "With Just One Look in Your Eyes" reached number five.[2] The third single off the album was also a duet with Massey, "You Are My Music, You Are My Song." The album, Radio Heart peaked at No. 15 on the "Top Country Albums" chart in 1985.

McClain's success began to subside after 1986. Her 1987 album brought only one Top 40 single, "Don't Touch Me There", which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Country Chart. The album became McClain's last album with Epic; she parted ways with the label the following year. She continued to chart until her last recording came in 1989.[1] She recorded one studio album with Mercury Records before the end of the decade. Her last charted single was "You Got the Job", which peaked at No. 65.

1990 – present: Current status[edit]

McClain has not recorded a studio album since 1989's self-titled album on Mercury Records and has dropped out of the public eye. Several compilation albums of her music have been released, including 1999's Anthology, which included all McClain's chart hits under Epic. McClain has not toured since the early 1990s. Charly's mother died of cancer in 2009. Charly continues to live in her home state of Tennessee.


Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sleepin' With The Radio On"   Stephen Allen Davis 2:52
2. "The Very Best Is You"   Frank Stevens, Larry Shell 2:47
3. "Men"   Ronny Scaife, Isaac Hayes 2:30
4. "Sentimental Ol' You"   Pat McManus, Bob DiPiero 3:32
5. "Paradise Tonight" (duet with Mickey Gilley) Mark Wright, Bill Kenner 3:01
6. "That's What You Do To Me"   Bob Morrison, Johnny MacRae 2:13
7. "When A Love Ain't Right"   Johnny Wilson, Bob Morrison 2:51
8. "Dancing Your Memory Away"   Eddie Burton, Thomas Grant 3:27
9. "Who's Cheatin' Who"   Jerry Hayes 2:10
10. "Surround Me With Love"   Norro Wilson, Wayland Holyfield 3:55


External links[edit]