Remember When Clint Eastwood Had a No. 1 Hit?
Clint Eastwood has often featured country music in his films, but did you know that he once scored a No. 1 country hit of his own?
Eastwood drenched several of his late '70s and early '80s films in country music. He helped Mel Tillis and Eddie Rabbitt score No. 1 hits from his 1978 movie Every Which Way But Loose with "Coca-Cola Cowboy" and the title song, and in 1980 he did it again for David Frizzell and Shelly West, who landed "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" on the Any Which Way You Can soundtrack. That year also marked his own country hit, with Merle Haggard on "Bar Room Buddies."
Written by Milton Brown, Cliff Crofford, Steve Dorff and Snuff Garrett, "Bar Room Buddies" appeared on the soundtrack to another Eastwood film, Bronco Billy, in which he plays the star of a failing traveling circus. Released in April of 1980, the song reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in July and stayed on the chart for 13 total weeks. Eastwood essentially speak-sings his lines in the song, which pairs him with Haggard over a backdrop of very traditional country.
It's possible that this duet's success was driven by star power more than actual country credibility. If Saturday Night Live were to do a parody of Dirty Harry singing country music, we're pretty sure this is what they'd come up with. It worked for him, however; in fact, it even cracked the Top 100 Best Drinking Songs list.
Eastwood had previously released a string of singles in the '60s when he was starring in Rawhide, and he has composed music for many of his films over the years. Later in 1980, he teamed with Ray Charles for a duet titled "Beers to You" from Any Which Way You Can, which reached No. 55 on the Hot Country Songs chart. He also guested on T.G. Sheppard's "Make My Day," which was written around a saying popularized by Eastwood's Harry Callahan character. That song reached No. 12 in 1984. Eastwood dueted with Marty Robbins on "In the Jailhouse Now" when he played a country singer in the 1982 film Honkytonk Man, and he also sang with Randy Travis on "Smokin' the Hive," from Travis' 1990 album Heroes & Friends.
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