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Eddie Rabbitt (born Edward Thomas Rabbitt; November 27, 1941 – May 7, 1998) was an American singer and songwriter.

His career began as a songwriter in the late 1960s, springboarding to a recording career after composing hits such as “Kentucky Rain” for Elvis Presley in 1970 and “Pure Love” for Ronnie Milsap in 1974.

Later in the 1970s, Rabbitt helped to develop the crossover-influenced sound of country music prevalent in the 1980s with such hits as “Suspicions” and “Every Which Way but Loose.” His duets “Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)” and “You and I”, with Juice Newton and Crystal Gayle respectively, later appeared on the soap operas Days of Our Lives and All My Children.

While he was still relatively unknown, Rabbitt toured with and opened for crossover star Kenny Rogers, and also opened for Dolly Parton on a number of dates during her 1978 tour, but soon Rabbitt would himself break through on other charts. Following the 1978 release of Variations, which included two more No. 1 hits, Rabbitt released his first compilation album, The Best of Eddie Rabbitt. The album produced Rabbitt’s first crossover single of his career, “Every Which Way But Loose”, which topped Country charts and reached the top 30 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary, and was featured in a 1978 Clint Eastwood movie of the same name.

The song also broke the record for highest chart debut, entering at No. 18. Rabbitt held this record until it was shared with Garth Brooks at the debut of Brooks’ 2005 single “Good Ride Cowboy.” The record was broken in 2006 upon the No. 17 chart entrance of Keith Urban’s “Once in a Lifetime.” Rabbitt’s next single, the R&B flavored “Suspicions” from his 1979 album Loveline, was an even greater crossover success, again reaching number one on Country charts and the top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary. He was given his own television special on NBC, first airing on July 10, 1980, which included appearances by such performers as Emmylou Harris and Jerry Lee Lewis. By this point in his career Rabbitt had been compared to a “young Elvis Presley.”

Rabbitt’s next album Horizon, which reached platinum status, contained the biggest crossover hits of his career including “I Love a Rainy Night” and “Drivin’ My Life Away.” Rabbitt developed “Rainy Night” from a song fragment that he penned during a 1960s thunderstorm. “Driving” recalled Rabbitt’s truck-driving days, and was inspired by Bob Dylan’s song “Subterranean Homesick Blues” from Dylan’s 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. His popularity was so strong at this point that he was offered his own variety television show, which he went on to respectfully decline stating “It’s not worth the gamble.”

The release of his 1981 Step by Step album continued Rabbitt’s crossover success as all three singles reached the top 10 on both Country and Adult Contemporary charts. The title track became Rabbitt’s third straight single to reach the top 5 on Country, Adult Contemporary and the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The album ultimately reached gold status, Rabbitt’s final album to do so. He teamed up with another country pop crossover star, Crystal Gayle, to record “You and I”, which was included in his 1982 album Radio Romance. The duet reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart and eventually became a large pop smash, peaking at No. 7 and No. 2 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart. The song’s popularity reached the point where it was used as a love theme for a couple on the soap opera All My Children. The song “You Put the Beat in My Heart” from Rabbitt’s second Greatest Hits compilation in 1983 was his final crossover hit, reaching No. 15 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Selected Discography

Radio Romance

Elektra Records 1982

Tracks: You Can’t Run From Love, Years After You, Good Night For Falling In Love, You And I, You Got Me Now, Our Love Will Survive, Strangers In Your Eyes, Bedroom Eyes, Laughing On The Outside & All My Life All My Love.

Musicians on the Radio Romance album: Eddie Rabbitt, Larry Byrom, Anthony Crawford, Billy Joe Walker, Joe Chemay, David Hungate, Shane Keister, Randy McCormick, James Stroud, Crystal Gayle, Dennis Henson, David Malloy & Rick Palombi.

Step By Step

Elektra Records 1981

Tracks: Early In The Mornin’, Bring Back The Sunshine, Skip A Beat, Dim Dim The Lights, Rivers, Step By Step, Someone Could Lose A Heart Tonight, I Don’t Know Where To Start, Nobody Loves Me Like My Baby & My Only Wish.

Musicians on the Step By Step album: Eddie Rabbitt, Larry Byrom, Billy Walker, Don Barrett, David Hungate, Randy McCormick, James Stroud, Randy McCormick, Larry Muhoberac & David Malloy.

Horizon

Elektra Records 1980

Tracks: I Love A Rainy Night, 747, Drivin’ My Life Away, Short Road To Love, Rockin’ With My Baby, I Need To Fall In Love, So Deep In Your Love, What Will I Write, Pretty Lady & Just The Way It Is.

Musicians on the Horizon album: Eddie Rabbitt, Larry Byrom, Don Barrett, David Hungate, Norbert Putman, Alan Feingold, Randy McCormick, James Stroud, Farrell Morris, David Malloy & Paul Overstreet.

Loveline

Elektra Records 1979

Tracks: Pour Me Another Tequila, Gone Too Far, Loveline, One And Only One, Suspicions, So Fine, I Will Never Let You Go Again, Amazing Love, It’s Always Like The First Time & I Don’t Wanna Make Love With Anyone.

Musicians on the Loveline album: Eddie Rabbitt, Larry Byrom, Jimmy Johnson, Tim May, Dennis Belfield, David Hungate, David Hood, Norbert Putman, Barry Beckett, Randy McCormick, Roger Hawkins, Steve Forman, Ernie Watts, Sherry Grooms, Michele Gruska & Sarah Taylor.

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