Dean Martin

You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

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For Sittin' on Top of the World, Dean Martin's most recent album, producer Jimmy Bowen had abandoned the country-pop approach that had brought Martin hits in the 1960s but faded from popularity later in the decade, and took the singer back to his days as a crooner of pop standards. That record didn't sell, either, however, and on You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Bowen split the difference and tried a few other things as well. The title song, a recent number one country hit for Ray Price, sounded like a potential pop hit to him, and he had Martin record it for single release. His instincts were good: The song soon after became a pop hit, but for Gladys Knight & the Pips, not Martin. Bowen also let Martin re-record some standards ("I'm Confessin' [That I Love You]," "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," "I Don't Know Why," "Gimme a Little Kiss [Will Ya, Huh!]"), all of which he had done for his Dream With Dean album in 1964; had him cover a recent pop hit ("Tie a Yellow Ribbon ['Round the Old Oak Tree]"); convinced him to take on an Arthur Alexander R&B number best known for a version by the Rolling Stones ("You Better Move On"); and even took Martin back to his roots in Italian songs ("Amor Mio"). The idea, it seemed, was to try a little everything, and Martin, as usual, was game. But he really needed to have displayed such versatility earlier. Maybe, if "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" had been the turnaround hit Bowen thought it could be for Martin, it all would have been different. As it was, Reprise Records didn't even bother to release Martin's next album for four years after he recorded it.

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