Charlie Rich

Behind Closed Doors

Song Review by

Charlie Rich had been recording all kinds of music for all kinds of labels throughout the late '50s and '60s, but he never became a sensation. He had a couple of hits -- "Lonely Weekends" went into the Top 30 in 1960, as did "Mohair Sam" in 1965 -- and his work had more than its fair share of fans, including Elvis Presley, whose comeback recordings of the late '60s were uncannily similar to Rich. Despite the good word of mouth and his constant desire to try new things (actually, maybe because of that), Rich found himself without hits until 1973, when he became a superstar due to the massive success of "Behind Closed Doors." Drenched in lush strings, impeccably arranged, and unabashedly melodic, the single bore all the hallmarks of Epic's powerhouse producer Billy Sherrill, who had been making similar-sounding records for George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Sherrill had been helming Rich's records since the late '60s, but "Behind Closed Doors" and its accompanying album of the same name was the first time he gave the singer the full-blown Sherrill treatment. To his credit, Rich never sounded as if he was drowning in strings or that he was doing a sugarcoated pop move (even if it may have played that way). Instead, it sounded like a natural progression of how he blurred boundaries between styles and genres. After all, this was a musician that had a minor country hit in 1970 with a reworking of Frank Sinatra's "Nice N Easy." "Behind Closed Doors," in some ways, is a kindred spirit to that single, since it's pitched perfectly between country and pop. Lyrically, it was a perfect country song; the narrator pledges his devotion to his woman and how nobody understands their love, since they don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Musically, the melody certainly had a country lilt, but it was stately, assured, and melodic, the kind of song that any vocalist, of any genre, would have been eager to make his or her own. Many tried. Percy Sledge, Albert King, Tom Jones, Dolly Parton, and Freddy Fender all recorded it, as did many other artists, including instrumentalists like Boots Randolph and Floyd Cramer. All of these were listenable; some were revelatory; many were pleasant, serving to illustrate what an adaptable, well-crafted song Kenny O'Dell wrote. Still, Charlie Rich's original version towered above them all, since it not only had one of Billy Sherrill's most gorgeous productions but Rich's astonishing, nuanced delivery made it seem like he had written the song himself about his own love for his wife. It became a hit not just on the country charts, where it peaked at number one, but on the pop charts as well. It was named Single of the Year by the CMA (that same year, 1973, Rich was named Male Vocalist of the Year, largely due to this song and its successor, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World") and it went gold. Even with such accolades, the most impressive thing about "Behind Closed Doors" is that it deservedly made a cult figure of a genuine country superstar.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Behind Closed Doors 1973 Epic 2:56
All-Time Greatest Hits 1976 Epic 2:57
No Image 1979
Original Soundtrack
Elektra 2:54
American Originals 1989 Columbia 2:53
Baby Boomer Classics: Mellow Seventies 1990
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:52
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:53
Columbia Country Classics, Vol. 4: The Nashville Sound 1991
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:56
Behind Closed Doors 1993
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:44
Country Music Classics, Vol. 4 (1970-75) 1993
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:55
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Super Hits 1995 Epic 2:57
The 101 Greatest Country Hits [Box] 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:44
Only Country 1970-1974 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:55
Feel Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich 1997 Legacy / Columbia 2:54
Super Hits of the '70s [Sony] 1997
Various Artists
Epic / Sony Music Distribution 2:54
Heart Beats: Behind Closed Doors - 70's Swingers 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
The 101 Greatest Country Hits, Vol. 8: Country Romance 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:44
Mellow 70's [Coyote] 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records 2:56
Most Beautiful Girl: 20 Greatest Hits 1997 DJ Specialist 2:44
No Image 1998
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 0:00
Sexy Country [K-Tel] 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:54
Heart Beats [3 Pack] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
The Best Country Ballads in the World Ever 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:55
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 2:45
16 Biggest Hits 1999 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:54
Country Greatest, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:43
Country: The American Tradition 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:56
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:56
Classic Country: 1970-1974 [2 CD 1999 #1] 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
Rich Sounds of Charlie Rich 2000 Platinum Disc 2:47
Ultimate Collection 2000 Hip-O 2:57
Country Music Classics 2000
Various Artists
Import 2:57
Millennium Country Hits 2000
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:45
Classic Country Crate 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:45
Greatest Rock N' Roll Hits 70's 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:45
Good Old Country 2000 St. Clair 2:46
Good Old Country: Men of Country, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:44
Love Songs 2000 Legacy / Epic 2:54
History of Country Music: Country Legends 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:55
Men of Country [2000] 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:44
Country Favorites [Madacy 2000] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:45
Country Favorites: 70's 2000
Various Artists
KSW2 2:45
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 2:52
Jammin' Oldies: Classic Country 2001
Various Artists
Masters / Intercontinental Records 2:46
All Music Guide: Cool Country 2001
Various Artists
All Music Guide / Medalist Entertainment 2:56
A Year in Your Life: 1970's Country, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 2:57
Country's Greatest Hits [K-Tel] 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:44
The Ultimate Classic Country Collection 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 2:57
Back to Back 2003 K-Tel Distribution 2:44
Country Love [K-Tel] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 0:00
Country's Greatest [2003] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:43
The Lighter Side of Country 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:46
Very Best of Country Legends [Madacy] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:55
101 Country and Western Greats 2003
Various Artists
Fabulous 2:53
101 Country & Western Greats Volume 2 2003
Various Artists
Fabulous 2:53
Close to You [K-Tel] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:46
Eternity [K-Tel UK] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:46
Love Affairs of the Seventies [K-Tel #1] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:44
Our Song: 16 Songs of Eternal Love 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:45
Great Country Love Songs [Rajon] 2004
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:46
The Great Country Collection 2004
Various Artists
Red X 2:57
Greatest Hits [w/Ray Price] 2004 Platinum Disc 2:47
Lifetime Of Romance: Secret Rendezvous 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
Music of Your Life: Secret Rendezvous 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
The Ultimate Country Collection [Universal International] 2005
Various Artists
Universal International 2:41
Classic Country: Kings of Country 2005
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:18
Country: The Essential Album 2005
Various Artists
Essential Records 2:45
Country Hit Parade 2005 Direct Source 2:44
Superstars of Country: Easy Loving 2005
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
Top 20 of Country 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:45
Superstars of Country [Time Life] 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
Lifetime of Romance [Time Life Box Set] 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
The Only Classic Country Collection You'll Ever Need 2010
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:35
Country's Got Heart: Behind Closed Doors 2010
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
Essential: Easy Listening 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:56
Country's Got Heart [Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
A Rich Anthology 1960-1978 2011 Raven 2:56
Music of Your Life 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
NOW That's What I Call ACM Awards 50 Years 2015
Various Artists
NOW! / UMG Recordings Inc. / Universal 2:55
25 All-Time Greatest Hits 2015 Varèse Sarabande 2:56
100 Hits: The Best Country Album 2018
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:55
'70s Country [Time Life]
Various Aritsts
Time Life / Time / Life Music 2:57
Country Legends [Sony 2013]
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:57
Rhinestone Cowboy [Canada 2015]
Various Artists
Stargrove 2:42
The Soundtrack Music From Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose
Various Artists
Elektra / Rhino