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T.G. Sheppard

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Biography

After working his way through the record industry, T.G. Sheppard emerged in the mid-'70s as one of the leading country-pop singers, bringing the music closer to the rock-influenced, cosmopolitain sounds of urban cowboy. A native of Humboldt, TN, Sheppard headed off to Memphis after high school, getting involved in the record business on several different levels. He tried recording as a pop artist and even signed with Atlantic Records under the name Brian Stacy, opening shows for the Beach Boys. A few years later, he took a job with a Memphis record distributor, then ended up in record promotion, where the job entailed calling radio stations and trying to persuade them to play his company's records. In that capacity for RCA, he helped break Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds," Perry Como's "It's Impossible," and John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads." After "going independent," he came across a demo tape of "Devil in the Bottle." He tried to talk a number of artists into doing the song, and when no one was interested, he decided to do it himself on Motown's fledgling country division, Melodyland Records. Primarily a recitation, "Devil in the Bottle" became a number one hit in 1975, but within three years, the company folded, and Sheppard's career was in limbo. Connecting with record producer Buddy Killen, he signed with Warner, and starting in 1979, the two churned out some of country's best-crafted singles over a four-year period. Sheppard gradually moved away from recitations and grew significantly as a vocalist, though the press often ignored his achievements. He changed producers several times in the mid-'80s and, after a divorce in 1987, took a couple of years off for personal reflection. When he returned, Sheppard found it difficult to regain his earlier momentum. As the nephew of the Grand Ole Opry comedian Rod Brasfield, Sheppard (born William Neal Browder, July 20, 1942) was exposed to music at a young age, and throughout his childhood, his mother gave him piano lessons. At the age of 16 he ran away from his Humbold, TN, home, arriving in Memphis where he became a backup vocalist and guitarist in the Travis Wammack Band. During this time, he was billing himself as Brian Stacy, and that was the credit on his first singles for Sonic Records. The label dropped him after all of his records failed, and he moved to Atlantic's Atco divison, where he released the rock & roll single "High School Days" in 1966. Though it didn't break nationally, it was a hit in the South, and soon he was opening for the likes of the Beach Boys and the Animals, while befriending Elvis Presley. Instead of leading him toward a performing career, the minor success of "High School Days" made Sheppard decide to work behind the scenes in the record industry, and later in 1966 he became a record promoter for Hot Line Distibutors. Initially, he worked for Stax, but he quickly became the Southern regional promoter for RCA, where he helped push records by his friend Presley, as well as John Denver. While he was working for RCA, he also founded his own production and promotion company, Umbrella Productions. While working at promotion for Umbrella in 1972, he discovered a song by Bobby David called "Devil in a Bottle." Every record company he directed it to over the next year and a half turned the song down, so he decided to record a version himself. Eventually, he convinced Motown's developing country subsidiary Melodyland to license the record. Deciding to use T.G. Sheppard as his performing name, the vocalist released the record in the fall of 1974. "Devil in the Bottle" unexpectedly climbed to number one early in 1975, followed shortly by another number one single, "Tryin' to Beat the Morning Home." Later in the year, "Another Woman" reached number 14 and "Motels and Memories" peaked at number seven, establishing Sheppard as a promising artist. Shortly after the release of "Motels and Memories," Motown was sued by a Los Angeles church over the right to use the name "Melodyland," and the label had to change its name to Hitsville. Sheppard had four other hit singles on Hitsville -- including a cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" and the number eight "Show Me a Man" (1976) -- before Motown finally decided to shut the label down. By the time Hitsville collapsed, Sheppard was on his way to becoming a star -- Cash Box magazine named him Best New Male Artist of 1976 -- so he was immediately snapped up by Warner. Sheppard became a genuine country star at Warner, paritially because the label promoted him correctly and partially because his sound -- a smooth fusion of R&B rhythms, pop production, and country songwriting -- became the blueprint for the urban cowboy movement that became country's most popular genre of the late '70s. After having two number 13 singles ("Mister D.J.," 'Don't Every Say Good-Bye") early in 1978, Sheppard released "When Can We Do This Again" in the summer. The single started a streak of 15 straight Top Ten hits that ran for the next five years. During that time, he had no less than ten number one singles: "Last Cheater's Waltz" (1979), "I'll Be Coming Back for More" (1979), "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven" (1980), "I Feel Like Loving You Again" (1980), "I Loved 'Em Every One" (1981), "Party Time" (1981), "Only One You" (1981), "Finally" (1982), "War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)" (1982), and the Karen Brooks duet "Faking Love" (1982). Over those five years, his style rarely changed -- every record was well-crafted, highly produced country-pop highlighted by Sheppard's smooth croon. Sheppard continued to chart well throughout the latter half of the '80s, and between 1986 and 1987 he had a number one single and three number two records in a row ("Strong Heart," "Half Past Forever (Till I'm Blue in the Heart)," "You're My First Lady," "One for the Money") after he switched labels and signed to Columbia. However, his audience dipped dramatically in 1988, when his radio-ready sound became unsurped by a number of new traditionalist performers like Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis, and George Strait. Between 1989 and 1990, he didn't record at all, and he was dropped by Columbia. In 1991, he returned to the charts with the Curb/Capitol single "Born in a High Wind," but he didn't remain with the label long. For the remainder of the '90s, he continued to tour and play concerts across a country, all the time lacking a new record contract. ~ Tom Roland
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Do You Wanna Go to Heaven
  3.   I Loved 'Em Every One
  4.   Party Time
  5.   Slow Burn
  6.   I'll Be Coming Back for More
  7.   Only One You
  8.   Finally
  9.   War Is Hell (On the Homefront, Too)
  10.   Somewhere Down the Line
  11.   Devil in the Bottle
  12.   Strong Heart
  13.   Smooth Sailin'
  14.   Faking Love by Karen Brooks
  15.   Without You
  16.   Last Cheater's Waltz
  17.   You Waltzed Yourself Right into My Life
  18.   Changes
  19.   Don't Ever Say Good-Bye
  20.   The State of Our Union
  21.   Jenny, Don't Worry 'Bout the Kid
  22.   It's One A.M. (Do You Know Where Your Memories Are)
  23.   Doncha?
  24.   Fifteen Rounds With Jose Cuervo by Delbert McClinton
  25.   Why Me Lord
  26.   Do You Want to Go to Heaven
  27.   Haunted House
  28.   Mobile Home
  29.   The Killer by Jerry Lee Lewis
  30.   Christmas in Mexico
  31.   Say Hello to Heaven
  32.   Do It Again
  33.   You Look Like Love
  34.   In Over My Heart
  35.   Trying to Beat the Morning Home
  36.   Born in a High Wind
  37.   One of Those Days
  38.   Nothing to Do But Lie
  39.   I Came Home to Make Love to You
  40.   Crazy in the Dark
  41.   Baby's Gettin' Around
  42.   Sober
  43.   Midnight in Memphis
  44.   Thanks to You
  45.   Good Man
  46.   I'm a Song
  47.   We Hours
  48.   Black Coffee
  49.   If You Knew by Ricky Skaggs & the Whites
  50.   In Texas by Willie Nelson
  51.   Wine to Remember, Whisky to Forget by Mickey Gilley
  52.   The Next One by Lorrie Morgan
  53.   Song Man by Merle Haggard
  54.   You're Mine Tonight
  55.   Like a Time Bomb
  56.   This One Burger King Town by Ray Stevens
  57.   I Was Losing You
  58.   It's a Man Thing by George Jones
  59.   Hold on Tight to Your Love featuring Steve Cropper
  60.   I'll Be Coming Back More
  61.   Mary Did You Know by TG Sheppard
  62.   Love Made a Liar out of Me
  63.   I'm All In
  64.   Love It out on Me
  65.   It's Only Love
  66.   You Do It to Me Every Time
  67.   My Ship's Coming In
  68.   I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again
  69.   I Wish You Could Have Turned My Head (And Left My Heart Alone)
  70.   She's Got Everything It Takes (To Make Me Stay)
  71.   You're the First to Last (This Long)
  72.   Easy to Love (So Hard to Leave)
  73.   Mister DJ
  74.   When You Crossed That Line
  75.   One Owner Heart
  76.   Motels and Memories
  77.   Whatever You're Looking for, You're Lookin' At
  78.   You're My First Lady
  79.   Fooled Around and Fell in Love
  80.   One for the Money
  81.   Half Past Forever (Till I'm Blue in the Heart)
  82.   You Feel Good All Over
  83.   Touch Me All Over Again
  84.   I Feel Like Loving You Again
  85.   Where Do We Go (When We've Gone All the Way0
  86.   She Pretended We Were Married (While I Pretended She Was You)
  87.   Because You Love Me by TG Sheppard
  88.   How Far Our Love Goes
  89.   I'm Not Going Anywhere by Crystal Gayle
  90.   Addicted to You
  91.   Wine to Remember and Whiskey to Forget by Mickey Gilley
  92.   (She Want to Live) Faster Than I Could Dream
  93.   So Much for Love
  94.   Dead Girl Walking by Kelly Lang
  95.   We're Walking on Thin Ice
  96.   It's Party Time
  97.   Everybody Loved Us
  98.   Echoes in My Heart
  99.   Lovin' On
  100.   I Love Em Everyone
  101.   Let the Little Bird Fly
  102.   I Wanna Live Like Elvis
  103.   The Day Elvis Died
  104.   Let's Do It Again
  105.   From the Desert to the Sea
  106.   Wide Open Spaces
  107.   Nothing on But the Radio
  108.   Come to Me
  109.   (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
  110.   Troubled Waters
  111.   Down on My Knees by The Oak Ridge Boys
  112.   If You Knew
  113.   What's Forever For
  114.   Crazy in the Heart
  115.   Have You Ever Loved a Woman? by Engelbert Humperdinck
  116.   There's Only One You
  117.   In Another Minute
  118.   Silence on the Line
  119.   100% Chance of Pain
  120.   I've Been So Wrong for So Long
  121.   We Belong in Love Tonight
  122.   Walk of Life
  123.   Some Bridges Never Burn
  124.   Hunger for You
  125.   Daisy a Day
  126.   One A.M.
  127.   Face the Night Alone
  128.   Don't Touch Me
  129.   I Could Never Dream the Way You Feel
  130.   Lonely on Lake Shasta by Janie Fricke
  131.   If I Never Saw the Light of Day Again
  132.   100% Chance of Pain
  133.   Great Work of Art
  134.   All My Cloudy Days Are Gone
  135.   Wasn't It a Short Forever
  136.   My Mind's Already Home
  137.   I Can Help
  138.   Banging My Heart Against the Wall
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