Written by Don DuBose and Joe Rich
#1 (4 weeks)
January 11 – February 1, 1997
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 17, 1997
Kevin Sharp earns his only No. 1 hit.
The Road to No. 1
Kevin Sharp grew up enamored with music, performing in musical theater throughout high school. His family hailed from California, and after spending many years in Idaho, Kevin and his family moved back to their state of origin, where he continued to pursue music. He was soon stricken with a rare form of bone cancer, with the prognosis so dire that he received a meeting with producer David Foster from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
His cancer treatments were ultimately successful, and Foster played a role in connecting Sharp with Asylum Records. His first single for the label’s Nashville division was a cover of the massive pop and R&B hit, “Nobody Knows.”
The No. 1
There’s a long history of cross-pollination between country and R&B. While country shied away from covering R&B hits in the early-to-mid nineties, R&B stars like Whitney Houston (“I Will Always Love You”) and All-4-One (“I Swear,” “I Can Love You Like That”) had major hits with country covers.
Sharp’s smash cover of “Nobody Knows” was an early indicator that Nashville would be looking to the R&B charts again for hit material. He delivers the song competently, with a little break in his voice that services the lyric well.
Still, it’s a paint by numbers cover that doesn’t bring anything new to the material. Thankfully, it’s a very good song, so the wheel wasn’t in need of being reinvented for it to work. It just doesn’t have the personality of the other hits from his debut album.
The Road From No. 1
Measure of a Man ultimately went gold on the strength of this hit and two additional top five entries: “She’s Sure Taking it Well” and “If You Love Somebody.” His second and final album for Asylum, 1998’s Love Is, failed to produce a hit. He resurfaced in 2005 with the independent project Make a Wish, which was his final release during his lifetime. After many years on the inspirational speaker circuit, Sharp fell ill again and required stomach surgery. He died from complications that arose during that surgery, and passed away in 2014 at the age of 43.
“Nobody Knows” gets a B.
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