The Race Is On

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"The Race Is On"
Single by George Jones
from the album The Race Is On
B-side "She's Lonesome Again"
Released September 26, 1964
Genre Country
Length 2:05
Label United Artists
Writer(s) Don Rollins
Producer(s) Pappy Daily
George Jones singles chronology
"Where Does a Little Tear Come From"
(1964)
"The Race Is On"
(1964)
"Least of All"
(1965)
"The Race Is On"
Single by Jack Jones
B-side "I Can't Believe I'm Losing You"
Released 1965
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Genre Easy listening
Label Kapp 651
"The Race Is On"
Single by Dave Edmunds
from the album Twangin...
Released 1981
Recorded 1981
Genre Rock
Length 2:04
Label Swan Song
Producer(s) Dave Edmunds
Dave Edmunds singles chronology
"Almost Saturday Night"
(1981)
"The Race Is On"
(1981)
"Slipping Away"
(1983)
"The Race Is On"
Single by Sawyer Brown
from the album The Boys Are Back
Released September 2, 1989
Recorded 1989
Genre Country
Label Capitol/Curb
Producer(s) Mark Miller
Randy Scruggs
Sawyer Brown singles chronology
"Old Pair of Shoes"
(1989)
"The Race Is On"
(1989)
"Did It for Love"
(1990)

"The Race Is On" is a song written by Don Rollins[1] and made a hit by George Jones. It was the first single released from his 1965 album of the same name. Released as a single in September 1964, it peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and at number 96 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1965. The song uses thoroughbred horse racing as the metaphor for the singer's romantic relationships.

George Jones version[edit]

Jones had recorded "The Race Is On" in June 1963 but it was not released until September 1964 on the album I Get Lonely in a Hurry. The single galloped to #3 on the Billboard country chart. It also climbed to number 96 on the pop charts, a rarity for a Jones single, and United Artists capitalized on its success by making it the title of his next 1965 LP. According to the Bob Allen book George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, Don Rollins wrote the song one day after visiting the Turf Paradise Race Track in Phoenix, Arizona.[2] Allen observes:

"George imbued 'The Race Is On' with a masterfully frenetic, on-the-edge vocal reading, full of whining emotional ambivalence and mock sadness. By gleefully bending and stretching the notes and singing, at times, slightly ahead of or behind the song's fast-clipped meter, he embellished it with a subtle sense of tension and release that perfectly complemented the rapid-fire cascading effect of the song's lyrics."[3]

In the 1994 retrospective Golden Hits, Jones recalled that Dewey Groom first played him the song in his office at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. Jones was unimpressed with all the demo tapes Groom played for him and had started to leave when Groom played the Rollins song; Jones heard the opening line and exclaimed, "I'll take it!" According to the liner notes for the 1994 Sony compilation The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country, the throbbing, echoey six-string bass guitar solo was played by Kelso Herston, who went on to write hit songs for Jones and produce one of his later MCA albums. Jones was extremely fond of the tune, recording it again with Musicor, Epic, and as a duet with Travis Tritt for the The Bradley Barn Sessions in 1994. He almost always performed it live in concert as well.

Cover versions[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

George Jones version[edit]

Chart (1965) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 96

Jack Jones version[edit]

Chart (1965) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 15
U.S. Billboard Middle-Road Singles 1

Dave Edmunds version[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 34

Sawyer Brown version[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 5
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 3

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Original versions of The Race Is On written by Don Rollins". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  2. ^ Allen, Bob 1996, pp. 149.
  3. ^ Allen, Bob 1996, pp. 150.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 331.
  5. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 33.
  6. ^ "George Jones – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for George Jones.
  7. ^ "George Jones – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for George Jones.
  8. ^ "Jack Jones – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Jack Jones.
  9. ^ "Sawyer Brown – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Sawyer Brown.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]