Chart Beat

Rewinding the Country Charts: In 1997, Everybody Knew Kevin Sharp

Kevin Sharp in Nashville
AP Photo/ Mark Humphrey

Kevin Sharp photographed on Sept. 25,1996 in Nashville, Tenn.

After the Tony Rich Project's hit pop version, "Nobody Knows" became Sharp's sole No. 1.

On Jan. 11, 1997, Kevin Sharp began a four-week reign on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with "Nobody Knows." Sharp's country version of the ballad had become a No. 2 Billboard Hot 100 pop/R&B hit a year earlier for The Tony Rich Project.

Sharp went on to collect two additional top 10 songs: "She's Sure Taking It Well" (No. 3) and "If You Love Somebody" (No. 4), both also in 1997. All three were released from his debut LP, Measure of a Man, which peaked at No. 4 on Top Country Albums and has sold 762,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen Music.

Sharp was in high school when he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, an uncommon form of bone cancer. Through the Make-a-Wish-Foundation, he later met record producer David Foster, who would become a friend and mentor. Sharp eventually served as a spokesman for the charity and wrote the inspirational book Tragedy's Gift (2004).

Although Sharp's cancer went into remission, he suffered from complications due to chemotherapy and radiation and passed away on April 19, 2014, at age 43. Attendees at his service included Rich, who sang "Nobody Knows" in tribute.