The Tale Behind the Hit: “Somebody Lied”
In the enchanting world of music, where dreams are woven into melodies, Ricky Van Shelton‘s journey to stardom began amidst humble beginnings. Leaving his hometown of Grit, Virginia, Ricky and his devoted wife aspired to make it big in Nashville. However, fate had its own plans when Bettye secured a job as a corporate personnel director, paving the way for their new life in the heart of Tennessee’s music scene.
Their new home near Opryland became a hub of creativity. Ricky spent his days honing his vocals, crafting songs, and recording demos in his basement studio. By night, he immersed himself in the vibrant Nashville club circuit, forging connections with fellow aspiring musicians, including dishwasher-turned-country-singer Randy Travis.
As destiny would have it, Bettye befriended Linda Thompson, wife of esteemed newspaper columnist Jerry Thompson. A chance encounter with Ricky’s basement performance led to Linda requesting one of his tapes. Upon hearing it, Jerry was captivated and promptly persuaded Columbia Records executive Rick Blackburn to grant Ricky an audition.
On a momentous day, July 19, 1986, Blackburn and Columbia’s staff producer, Steve Buckingham, witnessed Ricky’s captivating live performance at “The Stock Yard,” a cherished downtown club. Impressed by his talent, Ricky was soon in a professional recording studio for the very first time, where he recorded three songs: “Wild-Eyed Dream” (his debut single), a heartfelt rendition of Ernest Tubb’s classic “Thanks A Lot,” and the soul-stirring ballad, “Somebody Lied.”
The release of “Wild-Eyed Dream” marked Ricky’s Billboard debut, peaking at an impressive #24. His second single, “Crime Of Passion,” solidified his presence in the Top Ten charts. However, it was “Somebody Lied,” co-written by Larry Jenkins, Conway Twitty’s nephew, two years earlier, that catapulted Ricky to the pinnacle of success, claiming the #1 spot on Billboard’s country singles chart on December 5, 1987. Interestingly, the song had previously appeared on Conway’s “Don’t Call Him A Cowboy” album.
Before Ricky’s rise to stardom, producer Steve Buckingham had patiently held onto “Somebody Lied,” waiting for the perfect artist to give it life. When Ricky Van Shelton came along, Buckingham knew he had found the ideal fit. The song resonated perfectly with Ricky’s soulful voice, and in its 16th week, “Somebody Lied” soared to the coveted top spot, igniting the hearts of fans far and wide.
The tale of Ricky Van Shelton’s ascent is a testament to the power of destiny and the magic that unfolds when exceptional talent meets the perfect song. His heartfelt journey from an aspiring musician in Virginia to a chart-topping sensation in Nashville is an inspiration to dreamers everywhere, proving that sometimes, dreams do come true through the power of music.
- Artist: Ricky Van Shelton
- Released: 1987
- Album: Wild-Eyed Dream
- Nominations: Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year
Hello, yeah, this is me
Lord it’s been a long, long time
I know this ain’t no social call
So go ahead, get it off your mind
You heard what? Well it ain’t true
I was here most all last night
I got over you the day you left
Could it be somebody lied?
They said what? That I was cryin’?
I haven’t shed a tear in years
That I spoke your name? Well that’s insane
I’ve hardly noticed you’re not here
That I showed your picture to some stranger?
Don’t you think I’ve got no pride?
They’ve been here at home face down on a shelf
Lord, I bet somebody lied
But if they were true
What would it matter to you?
Would it change the way you feel?
If the rumors were right
Would you be here tonight
To help this old heart heal?
Well, don’t worry, it wasn’t me
Just someone whose world was torn in two
Someone who looks a lot like me
And loves someone like you
So forget the tears I never cried
Lord I bet somebody lied