We lost a true country music great today with the passing of Earl Thomas Conley. I remember his music all over the radio as a child, and even playing some of it when I became a country radio deejay in high school. His voice had that classic sound which borrowed elements from George Jones and Merle Haggard, and his songs painted vivid images of love, heartbreak, and romance. With 30 charted singles between 1980 and 1992, 18 of those became number ones, and he was the first artist of any genre to have four #1 songs from the same album.
ETC, as he was known, lost his voice in the early 90s and faded away from the radio, but not the memories of country music fans like me who grew up with his classics. Among them, Blake Shelton who tweeted:
My heart is absolutely destroyed today… I’m sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning. Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest… pic.twitter.com/W75ZVV6fbe
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) April 10, 2019
Blake also shared his love for ETC’s music in this quick video.
With all the songs ETC recorded, he’ll be best known for this 1983 smash, which was nominated for several Grammys, “Holding Her and Loving You.”
Earl Thomas Conley was 77. Thank you for the music.