John Conlee

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John Conlee
Conlee in 2017
Conlee in 2017
Background information
Birth nameJohn Wayne Conlee
Born (1946-08-11) August 11, 1946 (age 77)
Versailles, Kentucky, United States
Years active1970s–present
LabelsABC, MCA Nashville, Columbia, 16th Avenue

John Wayne Conlee (born August 11, 1946)[1] is an American country music singer.

Between 1978 and 2004, Conlee charted a total of 32 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and recorded 11 studio albums. His singles include seven No. 1 hits: "Lady Lay Down", "Backside of Thirty", "Common Man", "I'm Only in It for the Love", "In My Eyes", "As Long As I'm Rockin' with You" and "Got My Heart Set on You". In addition to these, Conlee had 14 other songs reach the Top Ten.

Conlee has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1981.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Conlee was born on a tobacco farm in Versailles, Kentucky.[4] By age 10, Conlee had begun singing and playing guitar, and later sang tenor in a barbershop quartet.[5]

Conlee did not immediately take up a musical career, instead becoming a licensed mortician,[6][5] employed by Duell-Clark Funeral Chapel, and later a disc jockey at radio station WLAC.[7]

Music career[edit]

Conlee singing at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, October 31, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee.

In pursuit of a music career, Conlee moved to Nashville, Tennessee, by 1971. He signed to ABC Records in 1976.[4] Conlee charted for the first time in 1978 with "Rose Colored Glasses", a No. 5 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, as well as the title track on his 1978 debut album.[4] The album produced his first two No. 1 hits with "Lady Lay Down" and "Backside of Thirty".[4]

Following ABC's merger with MCA Records, Conlee released his 1979 album Forever on MCA. Its singles, "Before My Time" (No. 2) and "Baby, You're Something" (No. 7), were top ten hits.[7] A second MCA release, Friday Night Blues, produced two more No. 2 hits: the title track and "She Can't Say That Anymore". The song "What I Had with You" (No. 12) followed. The 1981 album, With Love, accounted for yet another hit with "Miss Emily's Picture" (No. 2), which Conlee performed live on Hee Haw on January 3, 1981.[8]

Conlee's 1982 album Busted led off with a cover of the Harlan Howard song of the same name. The album's last single, "Common Man", returned him to the top of the charts in 1983.[4] Three more No. 1 hits came from the 1983 album In My Eyes: "I'm Only in It for the Love" (co-written with Kix Brooks), the title track and "As Long as I'm Rockin' with You". MCA also released a Greatest Hits album in 1983.[9]

Blue Highway in 1984, his last studio album for MCA, produced another No. 2 with "Years After You". A year later, a second Greatest Hits album produced his last MCA single with the No. 5 "Old School", before he moved to Columbia Records. Conlee's first Columbia release, Harmony, gave him his last No. 1 hit with "Got My Heart Set on You" in 1986. A second and final album for Columbia, American Faces, reached the Top 10 for the last time with "Domestic Life". This was followed by "Mama's Rockin' Chair" at No. 11 (his last Top 40 hit). From there, Conlee moved to 16th Avenue Records, releasing Fellow Travelers in 1989.[1]

In 2005, Conlee donated his concert performance of "Rose Colored Glasses" at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, to benefit the Lymphatic Research Foundation in New York. Conlee sang his signature song and auctioned off a pair of "rose-colored glasses" with the proceeds going to LRF.[citation needed]

Conlee has appeared on Larry's Country Diner and Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting (released on DVD/CD) via RFD-TV and Country Road TV.[10][11][12][13][14]



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country CAN Country
1978 Rose Colored Glasses 11 3 ABC
1979 Forever 20 MCA
1980 Friday Night Blues 16 11
1981 With Love 22
1982 Busted 21
1983 In My Eyes 9
1984 Blue Highway 14
1986 Harmony 9 Columbia
1987 American Faces 16
1989 Fellow Travelers 60 16th Avenue
2004 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus RCR

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Chart Positions Certifications Label
US Country US US CAN
1983 Greatest Hits 17 166 Gold Gold MCA
1985 Greatest Hits Volume 2 33
1986 Songs for the Working Man
Conlee Country
1987 20 Greatest Hits
1999 Live at Billy Bob's Texas Smith Music
2000 Classics RCR
2015 Classics 2
2018 Classics 3


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
CAN Country
1977 "The In Crowd" Forever
1978 "Rose Colored Glasses" 5 6 Rose Colored Glasses
"Lady Lay Down" 1 2
1979 "Backside of Thirty" 1 5
"Before My Time" 2 1 Forever
1980 "Baby, You're Something" 7 7
"Friday Night Blues" 2 3 Friday Night Blues
"She Can't Say That Anymore" 2 11
1981 "What I Had with You" 12 15
"Could You Love Me (One More Time)" 26 37 With Love
"Miss Emily's Picture" 2 7
1982 "Busted" 6 5 Busted
"Nothing Behind You, Nothing in Sight" 26 36
"I Don't Remember Loving You" 10 3
1983 "Common Man" 1 1
"I'm Only in It for the Love" 1 2 In My Eyes
"In My Eyes" 1 2
1984 "As Long as I'm Rockin' with You" 1 1
"Way Back" 4 2
"Years After You" 2 2 Blue Highway
1985 "Working Man" 7 6
"Blue Highway" 15 13
"Old School" 5 6 Greatest Hits Volume 2
1986 "Harmony" 10 19 Harmony
"Got My Heart Set on You" 1 1
"The Carpenter" 6 1
1987 "Domestic Life" 4 5 American Faces
"Mama's Rockin' Chair" 11 7
"Living Like There's No Tomorrow" 55
1988 "Hit the Ground Runnin'" 43 Fellow Travelers
1989 "Fellow Travelers" 48 54
"Hopelessly Yours" 67
1990 "Don't Get Me Started"[15]
"Doghouse" 61
2002 "She's Mine"[16] Classics
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
1989 "Fellow Travelers"
"Hopelessly Yours"
1990 "Doghouse"
2006 "They Also Serve"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1979 John Conlee Top New Male Vocalist Won

Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1979 Rose Colored Glasses Album of the Year Nominated
John Conlee Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
1980 Nominated


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  2. ^ "John Conlee".
  3. ^ "Opry Member List PDF" (PDF). April 23, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 7, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Huey, Steve. "John Conlee biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  5. ^ a b "John Conlee biography". Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  6. ^ "List of active licensees" (PDF). An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Louisville, KY: Kentucky Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors. 2019-10-17. p. 12. Retrieved 2020-02-02. funeral director and embalmer license number 3783
  7. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (August 2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  8. ^ "Hee Haw - S12E15".
  9. ^ "John Conlee's Greatest Hits - John Conlee | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  10. ^ "Episode 5 Featuring John Conlee".
  11. ^ "Episode 3 Featuring John Conlee & Teea Goans".
  12. ^ "Episode 5 Featuring John Conlee".
  13. ^ "Another Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting Episode 1".
  14. ^ "Country's Family Reunion: Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting DVD & CD - Gaither Music Company".
  15. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. January 13, 1990.
  16. ^ "Going for Adds" (PDF). Radio & Records. September 20, 2002.

External links[edit]