It was just last fall when 1990s country music star Suzy Bogguss graced our community with her charm, beauty and talent. Now, just seven months later, another end-of-the-20th-century Nashville superstar is coming to town.
This Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium, the Tonto Community Concert Association will host country music legend John Berry and his backup band. Berry promises to deliver “a concert celebrating life, love, faith and good music.”
I remember distinctly when John Berry came onto the national music scene in 1993, about the same time that my taste in music was moving from pop to country. I just loved his first big hit, “Kiss Me in the Car.”
Berry was born on Sept. 14, 1959 in Aiken, S.C. to James and Marie Berry, and raised in the Atlanta area. He was exposed to a variety of music, as his father enjoyed Van Cliburn his mother had a strong taste for gospel.
In 1972, at age 12, Berry began learning the guitar. He has named influences such as James Taylor, Harry Chapin, and, his favorite, John Denver. In a 2006 interview he said, “Prior to playing guitar, I really loved the Philly Soul Sound, like the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics.” Berry moved to soul, gospel and country music and began recording his own albums at home in 1979.
In 1981, at age 19, while riding his motorcycle, Berry was hit by a car, breaking both of his legs and his left hip. He had just lost his mother earlier that year. Doctors were afraid that he might not walk again. He spent several months in physical therapy, working to regain the use of his legs. Berry said of the incident, “The coolest thing in the world that came out of it ... all I could do is sit on my stool and play guitar. That’s all I’ve done ever since.”
Two years later, Berry started performing solo acoustic shows in northeast Georgia, then expanded around the Southeast, building a strong name and following. He eventually made six self-produced albums, with the last one selling over 10,000 copies. He was finally signed to Liberty Records in 1992.
From 1993 through 1999, Berry found great success in the country music industry. In 1994, he received the Country Music Association Horizon Award, as the best new artist.
In all, he has charted 19 songs on the Billboard country chart and seven that reached the Top-10, including “I Think About it all the Time,” “Standing on the Edge of Goodbye” and “She’s Taken a Shine.”
This week’s question
Early in 1994, Berry began to have terrible headaches, lost his appetite and finally blacked out during a concert. He was rushed to the hospital on May 9, 1994 in Atlanta, where a cyst was found in the third ventricle of his brain.
The same day he underwent brain surgery, he celebrated his only No. 1 single, from his hospital bed in Atlanta.
Is the title of Berry’s No. 1 single A) “Amazing Love,” B) “Your Love Amazes Me,” C) “Amazed,” or D) “Amazing Grace”?
If you’re the sixth caller with the correct answer, you’ll win — not one, not two, but three tickets to Sunday’s John Berry concert, courtesy of the Tonto Community Concert Association.
Last week’s question
Following the debut of the 1984 movie “Footloose,” in addition to Kenny Loggins’ song “Footloose” peaking at No. 1 on the charts, five other songs from the movie made the Billboard charts, all peaking in the Top-40.
Last week’s trivia question asked if you could name the other “Footloose” movie track that went to the top of the chart. The choices were A) “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams, B) “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins, C) “Hello” by Lionel Richie, or D) “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper.
The correct answer was “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams. Each of the other three song choices were also No. 1 hits in the first half of 1984.
The other four Top-40 “Footloose” songs (which you’ll hear if you attend this weekend’s high school musical) were “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar, “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, “I’m Free” by Kenny Loggins and “Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson.
Congratulations to Don Milner, last week’s trivia winner.
A couple of final notes
New pictures that I’ve added to my website are from last Saturday’s opening-day celebration of Payson’s Little League and Youth Softball seasons. Rumsey Park featured a slew of ball games, raffles, silent auctions, meal deals, ice cream — and a whole lot of future big-leaguers and proud family members.
Also, the Payson High School Music Theatre is currently presenting the musical “Footloose,” which opened last night (Thursday) and continues today at 4 p.m. and tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 p.m. The high school cast has been rehearsing this high-energy, song and dance production since January. Please come on down to the high school auditorium and support our hard working and extremely talented thespians.
Have a great Rim Country week!
DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482, www.djcraiginpayson.com