Remember Which Country Group Once Scored a No. 1 Pop Hit?
The line between country music and pop is getting blurrier all the time, but it's not just a recent trend. The genres have always been close cousins; in fact, one of the biggest country groups of the '80s scored a No. 1 pop hit years before switching to country music.
Exile formed in the '60s in Kentucky as the Exiles, and changed their name simply to Exile in 1973. The band toured and recorded consistently, but success eluded them until 1978, when they scored a No. 1 pop hit with "Kiss You All Over."
The group were subsequently unable to repeat that pop success, and in 1983, after singer-guitarist JP Pennington scored hits as a songwriter for Alabama including "The Closer You Get" and "Take Me Down," Exile made the switch to country music, reaching No. 27 with "High Cost of Leaving."
These Pop/Country Crossover Didn't Work Out Too Well
Their career transformation was complete when their next single, "Woke Up in Love," hit No. 1 on March 3, 1984. The group would follow up with a run of No. 1 country hits over the course of the next few years that included "I Don't Want to Be a Memory," "Give Me One More Chance," "Crazy for Your Love," "She's a Miracle," "Hang on to Your Heart," "I Could Get Used to You," "It'll Be Me," "She's Too Good to Be True" and "I Can't Get Close Enough."
The group's popularity began to wane by the end of the decade, and following a run of chart disappointments and core member changes, Exile officially disbanded in 1993. By 1995 Pennington and singer-guitarist Les Taylor had decided to put the group back together, and Exile have continued to record and tour ever since.