History

This Country Song Was So Influential That Even the Beatles Covered It

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Buck Owens and the Buckaroos were so much more than just another honky-tonk country band paving the way for the genre in the 1960s. The song that skyrocketed them to fame? You guessed it – “Act Naturally”.

Named the Most Promising Country and Western singer in 1960 by Billboard, Buck Owens was the hottest new country singer on the block. His star kept rising for the next two years, but his decision in 1963 to record “Act Naturally” with the Buckaroos would be the best choice he could have made.

The song, written by Johnny Russell, actually didn’t strike Owens’ fancy and he was about to scratch the idea entirely. That is, until Buckaroos’ member Don Rich convinced ol’ Buck that it actually was a hit waiting to be made.

It became so popular that not only was it their first No. 1 hit, but it also struck the fancy of another rising group at the time. The Beatles recorded their version in 1965 with Ringo Starr on lead vocals and in 1988, both Ringo Starr and Buck Owens sang a duet of the smash hit.

Owens passed away in 2006, but his legacy lives on through not only his numerous hit records, but also through the sheer amount of covers, from the Beatles to Ray Charles.