Emerging from a mere tobacco farm out of Versailles, Kentucky came one of Country Music’s greatest legends. Seeing the world through Rose Colored Glasses, he took the billboard chart by storm in the mid 70”s. I speak of none other than the great John Conlee. Conlee began singing and playing guitar at the age of 10 and even sang tenor in a barbershop quartet. He worked many odd jobs before finding his way to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, from being a DJ and even a licensed mortician. We’re gonna take a brief look at one of the heartbeats of Country Music, Mr John Conlee.
Conlee moved to Nashville in 1971 and eventually signed to ABC Records in 1976. Conlee’s signature song “Rose Colored Glasses,” was his first hit on Billboard Charts in 1978. That album set his career in motion when he also received his first two number one hits with “Lady Lay Down” and “Backside of Thirty.” With great songs like “Before My Time,” “Baby, You’re Something,” “I’m Only in It for the Love,” “Common Man,” “As Long as I’m Rockin’ with You” and of course “Miss Emily’s Picture” he inspired the next several generations of country stars. If you listen closely to songs from the eighties, nineties, and beyond you can hear hints of Conlee’s music in many country artist’s songs. Artists like Alan Jackson, Tracy Larence, Travis Tritt and many more.
Though John Conlee’s new music may not be hitting the main stream radio, he and his music are still taking center stage in a number of other ways. A single from his album “Fellow Travelers” can be heard in a national commercial campaign for Ford Trucks with ”Hit The Ground Runnin.” Conlee still makes television appearances and takes radio interviews to support his tours and it keeps him pretty busy. Conlee has been a Grand Ole Opry member since 1981 and he performs there several times a year. He also makes appearances on Larry’s Country Dinner, a show filmed and aired out of Nashville. Thank goodness Conlee decided to grace the world with his great music. Where would country music be without songs like “Rose Colored Glasses,” “The Carpenter,” “I Don’t Remember Loving You,” and “Busted”?
Conlee is a fine performer – that is undeniable – but he is also a man of many talents including being an incredible songwriter. He has written songs that are embedded in a generation’s subconscious. Song lyrics that roll off the tongue and ring through the years, from “Rose Colored Glasses” to “Back Side of Thirty.” These are songs written or co-written by Conlee and they remain two of his most recognized signature songs. So the next time you’re surfing the web or browsing through the CD’s at your favorite record store, check out Conlee’s Greatest Hits and introduce or reintroduce yourself to music that moved America through one of its greatest country music legends, America’s Common Man, John Conlee.