This week in 1955: Communist China agreed to release four U.S. airmen accused of espionage; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must end racial segregation "with all deliberate speed;" tornadoes struck several Southern states, killing 121 people; and a singer from West Plains, Missouri, had his second hit record and his first No. 1.
Ideas for songs come from everything and everyplace you could imagine from overheard conversations — from phone calls, but very few (in fact only one that I can think of) came from a conversation with a guy's father-in-law. But such was the case for Porter Wagoner's first No. 1, "Satisfied Mind" in 1955.
An East Texas fiddle player named Red Hayes' father-in-law asked him who Red thought was the richest man in the world. Red replied with names of some of the rich men of the day but his father-in-law laughed at his answer and told Red that the richest man in the world was the man with a satisfied mind.
Red began thinking of what his father-in-law had told him, while remembering that his mother had spent her lifetime teaching him that happiness is finding joy in each day, but without money. And he began writing "Satisfied Mind" from the conversation with his father-in-law and his mother's lessons in living. He called on his friend Jack Rhodes to finish the song and "A Satisfied Mind" was born.
Porter Wagoner's RCA Victor single "A Satisfied Mind" came on the country charts May 28th, 1955, and made it to No. 1. It stayed at the top of the list for four week and on the charts for 33 weeks, in spite of competition from two other versions of the song being recorded and released at the same time Red and Betty Foley's recording reached No. 3 while Jean Shepard's record peaked at No. 4.
Roy Drusky recorded the song in 1973, which went to No. 25 and Bob Luman's version peaked at No. 41 in 1976.
Porter Wagoner went on to chart 81 songs on the country music charts through 1983, including three No. 1s. Wagoner died in 2007.
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