Rewinding the Country Charts: In 1979, Charlie Daniels Band's 'Devil' Went Up to No. 1
The fiddle maestro and his band led Top Country Albums & Hot Country Songs, thanks to their signature story song.
On Sept. 1, 1979, Million Mile Reflections, the 10th studio album from The Charlie Daniels Band, crowned Billboard's Top Country Albums chart for the first of four weeks. The set, its title an ode to the band hitting 1 million touring miles, became the group's only No. 1 album and was driven by the Southern rock-leaning act's sole No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, the rollicking "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
Co-written by Daniels with members of the CDB, "Devil" tells the story of Satan trying to steal the soul of a young man (Johnny), who outplays the unholy entity. "Devil" crossed over to a No. 3 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Daniels the 1979 Grammy Award for best country vocal performance. It was also featured in the hit 1980 film Urban Cowboy.
Born Charles Edward Daniels in 1936, the singer-songwriter worked during the '60s as a Nashville session musician, playing with, among others, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr. Although he played bass and guitar on many albums, Daniels quickly became known for his fiddle expertise.
Daniels launched his band in 1972 and, combining the group's and his solo output, he's charted 34 titles on Hot Country Songs and 26 on Top Country Albums.
Daniels will turn 80 on Oct. 28 and will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year. His birthday will be celebrated with a special edition of his Volunteer Jam concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 30. Special guests will include Chris Stapleton, Travis Tritt, Kid Rock and Larry the Cable Guy.