ON THIS DATE in 1996, thirteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes recorded “Blue,” a 40-year-old song that some deejays thought too old to be a hit. Bill Mack, who took just 15 minutes to write the tune in 1956, recalled one deejay insisting, “That piece of junk will never make it! It’s too country!”
The record-buying public disagreed, and Rimes’ “Blue” sold more than eight million copies, propelled the same-named album to number one on the country charts, and brought a pile of awards, including Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.
Mack supposedly wrote the song for Patsy Cline, a country music legend who died in a 1963 plane crash. Thirty-three years later, the songwriter and Texas deejay was stunned when he heard Rimes sing “Blue.” “Her voice was perfect,” he said, “and she sang from the heart. She was unbelievable.”
A second single from the Blue album, “One Way Ticket (Because I Can),” would top the country charts, and Rimes would record six other studio albums in the next 10 years that reached the top three of the country charts.