Mel Street

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Mel Street
Street in 1975
Street in 1975
Background information
Birth nameKing Malachi Street
Born(1935-10-21)October 21, 1935
Grundy, Virginia, United States
DiedOctober 21, 1978(1978-10-21) (aged 43)
Hendersonville, Tennessee, United States
Years active1972–1978
LabelsMetromedia, GRT, Polydor, Mercury

King Malachi "Mel" Street (October 21, 1935 – October 21, 1978)[1] was an American country music singer who had 13 top-20 hits on the Billboard country charts.


Street was born near Grundy, Virginia, United States.[2][3] Publications cite his year of birth as 1933, although his family maintains that he was born in 1935 and his gravestone gives the year as 1936.[4][5] He began performing on western Virginia and West Virginia radio shows at the age of sixteen.[6] Street subsequently worked as a radio tower electrician in Ohio,[6] and as a nightclub performer in the Niagara Falls, New York area.[1] He moved back to West Virginia in 1963 to open an auto body shop.[7]

From 1968 to 1972, Street hosted a show on a Bluefield, West Virginia television station.[8] He recorded his first single, "Borrowed Angel" – which he also wrote – in 1969 for a small regional record label, Tandem Records.[6] A larger label, Royal American Records, picked it up in 1972 and it became a top-10 Billboard hit.[6] He recorded the biggest hit of his career, "Lovin' on Back Streets", in 1972.[6]

Street's last television appearance was in 1977, in which he performed his 1976 hit "I Met A Friend Of Yours Today" on That Good Ole Nashville Music.

Street recorded several hits in the mid-1970s, such as "You Make Me Feel More Like a Man," "Forbidden Angel," "I Met a Friend of Yours Today," "If I Had a Cheatin' Heart," and "Smokey Mountain Memories". He signed with Mercury Records in 1978, but suffering from clinical depression and alcoholism,[6] he killed himself by a self-inflicted gunshot on October 21, 1978, his 43rd birthday.[3] He had a record debut on the country charts on October 21 as well, called "Just Hangin' On",[9] and later charted four posthumous songs. Street's idol, George Jones, sang "Amazing Grace" at his funeral.[6]

His posthumous album, Mel Street's Greatest Hits, was promoted via television advertisements in 1981, and sold 400,000 copies.[6]



Year Album US Country Label
1972 Borrowed Angel 14 Metromedia Country
1973 The Town Where You Live /
Walk Softly On the Bridges
1974 Two Way Street 37 GRT
1975 Smokey Mountain Memories 16
1976 Mel Street's Greatest Hits 26
Country Colors
1977 Mel Street 45 Polydor
1978 Country Soul 47
Mel Street Mercury
1980 Many Moods of Mel 61 Sunbird


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1972 "Borrowed Angel" 7 9 Borrowed Angel
"Lovin' On Back Streets" 5 8
1973 "Walk Softly On the Bridges" 11 6 The Town Where You Live /
Walk Softly On the Bridges
"The Town Where You Live" 38 58
"Lovin' On Borrowed Time" 11 7 Two Way Street
1974 "You Make Me Feel More Like a Man" 15
"Forbidden Angel" 16 47 Smokey Mountain Memories
1975 "Smokey Mountain Memories" 13 43
"Even If I Have to Steal" 17 17
"(This Ain't Just Another) Lust Affair" 23
1976 "The Devil in Your Kisses (And the Angel in Your Eyes)" 32 Mel Street's Greatest Hits
"I Met a Friend of Your's Today" 10 Country Colors
"Looking Out My Window Through the Pain" 24
1977 "Rodeo Bum" 56
"Barbara Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" 19 Mel Street (1977)
"Close Enough for Lonesome" 15
1978 "If I Had a Cheating Heart" 9 Country Soul
"Shady Rest" 24
"Just Hangin' On" 68 Mel Street (1978)
1979 "The One Thing My Lady Never Puts Into Words" 17 Many Moods of Mel
1980 "Tonight Let's Sleep On It Baby" 30
"Who'll Turn Out the Lights" 36
1981 "Slip Away" (w/ Sandy Powell) 48


  1. ^ a b "Mel Street | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  2. ^ "October 21, 1935: Country Musician Mel Street Born in Virginia". West Virginia Public Broadcasting. October 21, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Nelson, Dick (August 27, 2017). "Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight to Feature Mel Street". 98.1 Minnesota's New Country. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Schuler and Delp 2002, p. 23.
  5. ^ "Mel Street – Grave of a Famous Person". The Social Security Death Index also shows 1936.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 398. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  7. ^ Schuler and Delp 2002, p. 46.
  8. ^ Schuler and Delp 2002, p. 51.
  9. ^ Schuler and Delp 2002, p. 243.


  • Huey, Steve. (2003). Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, & Stephen Erlewine. "Mel Street (King Malachi Street)." All Music Guide to Country, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003. ISBN 0-87930-760-9
  • Schuler, Dennis Sr. and Larry J. Delp. Mel Street – A Country Legend, Charleston, WV: Mountain State Press, 2002. ISBN 0-941092-47-X

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