Razzy Bailey, the '80s country hitmaker behind "Midnight Hauler," "Loving Up a Storm" and five other No. 1s, died Wednesday (Aug. 4) at his home in Goodlettsville, Tn. He was 82 years old.
"Razzy wanted all his fans around the world to know how much he loved each one of you," read a statement from Bailey's family. "He always said he had the greatest fans in the world. Razzy was a tremendous driving force in the country music community of Nashville. He served as an elder in the Nashville Cowboy Church and was a long-time member of R.O.P.E. Razzy helped launch the careers of many upcoming songwriters who came to Nashville to launch their careers. So many entertainers looked to Razzy as their mentor and for his guidance in the music industry. Razzy was always the first to reach out and help a struggling newcomer to Nashville."
Rasie Michael Bailey was born on Feb. 14, 1939, in Five Points, Ala., and raised in the East Alabama town of LaFayette. He got his first experience as a performer in high school while playing in a Future Farmers of America (FFA) string band.
He married and started a family right after high school, limiting his musical ambitions to playing honky-tonks in Georgia and Alabama. That changed in 1966 after Bailey took his song "9,999,999 Tears" to Atlantic Records' Bill Lowery. Despite getting to cut the song in the studio with musicians the caliber of Joe South, Billy Joe Royal, and Freddy Weller, Bailey's first big single failed to chart.
From here, he performed in the bands Daily Bread and The Aquarians before gaining footing as the solo act behind the song "I Hate Hate."
In the late '70s, Dickey Lee found success with two songs written by Bailey: "9,999,999 Tears" and "Peanut Butter." Notoriety as a songwriter landed Bailey a deal with RCA.
From 1978's "What Time Do You Have to Be Back to Heaven" to 1982's "Love's Gonna Fall Here Tonight," Bailey charted 14 straight Top 10 singles. His Billboard chart presence lasted until the end of the '80s.
Other songs of note include "The Great Depression," "I Keep Coming Back," "Anywhere There's a Jukebox" and a cover of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour."
Per a statement, Bailey is survived by his loving wife of many years, Faye Bright Bailey.