For nearly half a century, Emmylou Harris has taken the music world by storm. After releasing a countless number of hit albums and singles throughout her career, Harris has gone on to win an impressive 13 Grammys in addition to many other awards.
Harris’ success as a solo artist also led to her being a desirable duet partner for other artists, regardless of genre. Over the years she has collaborated with many of music’s greats, such as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young.
Perhaps most famously, Harris teamed up with country star Dolly Parton and rock singer Linda Ronstadt for a collaboration album called Trio in 1987. The album was a smash success, and it ended up climbing to the top of the charts. Due to the success of their first collaboration, the three released a second Trio album in 1999.
Despite the fact that Harris isn’t strictly a country artist (she also sings folk, bluegrass, rock, and pop), the country music community has always embraced her as one of their own. In celebration of this legendary singer’s birthday, we’d like to look back on some of the signature songs of her career.
Written by country singer Buck Owens before Harris was even 18 years old, “Together Again” was originally released by Owens as a single in 1964. The song eventually beat out Owens’ previous number one hit “My Heart Skips a Beat” to take the top spot on the Billboard country charts.
When Harris released her album Elite Hotel in 1975, she included her version of “Together Again” as one of the tracks. Like Owens, Harris ended up scoring a number one hit with the song after it topped the country chart in April 1976.
In 1979 Harris and Owens came together in for a special duet, called “Play Together Again, Again,” which served as a tribute to the song that was such a success for them both..
“You Never Can Tell”
Out of rock legend Chuck Berry’s many hits, “You Never Can Tell” is one of the most frequently covered. The tune’s been recorded by many country stars, including John Prine, Chely Wright, and Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter.
But out of all of the cover versions of “You Never Can Tell,” Harris’ is the most well-known. As a longtime fan of Berry’s music, Harris decided it was time to offer her own spin on “You Never Can Tell” as she was preparing her album Luxury Liner. Her version was released in 1977, and listeners fell in love with it right away.
Harris’ recording of “You Never Can Tell” soared all the way to the sixth spot on the Country and Western Chart in the U.S. It was also a big hit in the Netherlands and the Flemish Region of Belgium, where it charted at the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Just further proof of how talented Harris is!
As the second single off of Harris’ Grammy-nominated album Cimarron, “Tennessee Rose” broke into the Top 10 on the Billboard country chart. It was even more successful in Canada, where it peaked at the fifth spot on chart there.
Written by Karen Brooks and Hank DeVito, the lyrics express the feelings of a woman who misses her lover when they are apart. She is so smitten that she would do anything for more time with her love, as she sings “I wouldn’t take no, the whole world dipped in gold, for a night with my Tennessee Rose.” Throughout the song, the narrator continues to encourage the object of her affection to treasure her love, singing “The gift I hold is believing, that you will always be mine.”
From 1974-1991, Harris performed with a backing band called The Hot Band. She joined the Hot Band to perform “Tennessee Rose” many times over the years, but the performance above is one of our favorites.
“To Know Him Is To Love Him”
One of Harris’ most recognizable songs happens to be from her Trio collaboration with Parton and Ronstadt. “To Know Him Is to Love Him” has a long history behind it, since it was first recorded in September 1958 by the pop group The Teddy Bears. One of the band members, Phil Spector, was the one who wrote the song after feeling inspired by some words he read on his father’s tombstone.
The original recording of the song was a number one hit for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, which prompted many other artists to record their own versions over the years. Trio was the most successful of all those who covered the song, after they released their version in January 1987.
Harris and her fellow Trio artists were the first to bring the song back to the top spot on the charts since The Teddy Bears’ original version decades earlier. Out of all the songs they recorded together “To Know Him Is to Love Him” remains Trio‘s most successful.
Harris has already provided us with a wealth of beautiful music, and she doesn’t intend to stop any time soon. Her most recent album, a collaboration with country singer Rodney Crowell, was released in 2015.
Knowing the quality of music Harris has released already, we can’t wait to hear what else she has in store for us in the future!