Although singer/songwriter John Wesley Ryles had over thirty chart singles between 1968 and 1988, he never reached the heights of some of his contemporaries. He was raised in rural Louisiana and Texas in a family who entertained themselves in the evening by singing. A guitar player from age six, he made his radio debut the following year. His family formed the Ryles Family Singers and entertained on various local radio stations until accepting an invitation to become regulars on Fort Worth's Cowtown Hoedown, which led to joining the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. The whole family moved to Nashville in 1965, and Ryles decided to go solo. He began singing demos, gained experience working as a studio engineer, and frequently appeared with various local club bands. In 1968, he released the single "Kay," which gave the 18-year-old Ryles, billing himself as John Wesley I, a Top Ten country and crossover pop hit. He recorded two follow-ups in 1969 that only made it to the middle of the charts, but made it to the Top 20 in 1970 with "I've Just Been Wasting My Time." The following year he had a Top 40 hit with "Reconsider Me." By this time, however, young Ryles had become disillusioned and discouraged, and left Music City to begin performing at various clubs. In 1976, he made another bid for stardom with two minor hit singles. In 1977, he recorded "Fool; " at first it did nothing, but four months after its release it became a Top 20 hit. He followed with his biggest hit, "Lifetime Thing," which reached the Top Five. After that, he had several mid-range hits through the end of the '80s before becoming a session musician and demo singer.
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