Streakin’ through the hits with witty wordsmith Ray Stevens

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Spoofing insanely ambitious French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, presenting the cover of “He Thinks He’s Ray Stevens,” the genius singer-songwriter’s 21st album released on November 10, 1984, via MCA Nashville Records. The LP shot to No. 3 C&W, No. 118 POP on the strength of hit singles “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” and “It’s Me Again, Margaret.” Image Credit: Etsy / Universal Music Group
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Ray Stevens confidently sits on top of the world after winning a Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy Award for for his career-defining easy listening standard “Everything Is Beautiful,” circa 1971. Image Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

The Complete Ray Stevens Interview

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Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed, Atlanta guitarist Little Jimmy Dempsey, and Atlanta music impresario Bill Lowery circa 1957. Image Credit: The Tom Redmond Collection / MisterGuitar.com
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Ray Stevens and good friend-songwriting partner Buddy Kalb are pictured inside Stevens’ Nashville office on September 19, 2011. Note the BMI sales certification for Stevens’ Grammy-winning “Everything Is Beautiful.” Photography by Doug Phillips / Ray Stevens Music
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The Jordanaires [i.e. Neal Matthews, Gordon Stoker, Hoyt Hawkins, and Ray Walker], Elvis Presley, and soprano Millie Kirkham collide inside RCA Studio B in Nashville on May 28, 1966, during the sessions for the Grammy-winning “How Great Thou Art” album. Ray Stevens was present inside the famed recording studio that very night. Image Credit: Raymar Music
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A publicity image depicts suave novelty singer-songwriter Ray Stevens. It ultimately appeared as the cover of his “Here We Go Again!” studio album released on March 23, 2015. Photography by Shannon Fontaine / Absolute Publicity
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Before he became a household name, presenting the rare Germany single 45 cover for songwriter Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” b/w “Me and Bobby McGee,” released in 1969 on Monument Records. Image Credit: 45Cat user Trebor529 / Sony Music Entertainment
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“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” the cover of B.J. Thomas’s best-selling — No. 12 POP on Billboard — eighth studio LP released in December 1969 on Scepter Records. That is Thomas’s wife and longtime personal manager Gloria seated on the handlebars in a nod to the iconic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” bicycle scene featuring Paul Newman and Katharine Ross. Image Credit: MusicStack / Gusto Records
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“Ray ‘Ahab the Arab’ Stevens and Hal Winters,” a budget LP hastily thrown together in 1963 by Crown Records. At the time the genius novelty artist had unleashed three Top 40 pop singles: “Ahab the Arab,” “Harry the Hairy Ape,” and “Jeremiah Peabody.” Image Credit: Ace Records
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Ray Stevens’ “Face the Music: The Complete Monument Singles 1965–1970,” released on March 4, 2016. The photo of the wordsmith was taken on April 30, 1970, while filming the brief summer variety series, “The Ray Stevens Show,” at CTV Studios in Canada. Photography by Frank Lennon / Ace Records
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In a clever parody of General Douglas MacArthur’s sweeping victory speech upon returning to the Philippine Islands in World War II, the cover of Ray Stevens’ “I Have Returned,” the novelty artist’s sole number one country album released on September 2, 1985. Photography by Slick Lawson / Music Stack / MCA Nashville Records
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Sitting atop Dollar, a sorrel gelding with a narrow blaze and high stockings on both hind legs, John Wayne is tall in the saddle during an early scene from the well-acted “The Cowboys” where he rides into the nearly deserted Bozeman, Montana, circa June 1971. Image Credit: Warner Bros.
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Ray Stevens humorously lampoons the iconic Whistler’s Mother painting for the cover of his “Hum It” studio album released on March 11, 1997. The record includes a funny rewrite of “Daddy Sang Bass” with original songwriter Carl Perkins. Photography by Mark Morrison / Universal Music Group
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Parodying a photo that insisted Barry Manilow loved beagles found on the pianist’s 1975 “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling” LP, presenting the rear jacket of “The Feeling’s Not Right Again,” a non-charting LP released by Ray Stevens in June 1979 on Warner Bros. Image Credit: Warner Music Group
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The strikingly artistic cover of Ray Stevens’ “Don’t Laugh Now,” a non-charting studio album released in April 1982 via RCA Records. Image Credit: Records Merchant / Sony Music Entertainment
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Ray Stevens can’t put down his “Ray Stevens’ Nashville” memoir even while tickling the ivories during a Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum Presents Songwriter Session on July 19, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee. Photography by Rick Diamond / Getty Images
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Two-time Grammy Award winner Ray Stevens poses with his mammoth eight-CD box set, “The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music,” on February 29, 2012 at BookMan BookWoman in Nashville, Tennessee. Photography by Rick Diamond / Getty Images
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The album cover of “Gospel Collection, Volume One,” released on August 19, 2014. It is Ray Stevens’ second gospel album following his best-selling “Turn Your Radio On” 42 years earlier. Photography by Shannon Fontaine / Gaither Music Group
Ray Stevens is free as the breeze and always at ease. Click to hear the veteran country pop singer look back over his 60-year career, including playing trumpet on an Elvis Presley session and the best-selling hit single The Streak,” in an enlightening 2015 radio interview. Video Credit: The Five Count / YouTube

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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