Five years ago, it was Razzy Who? for Razzy Bailey. The Alabama native had been kicking around Nashville for a decade trying to sell his songs and himself. Twice Bailey started up his own labels, losing most of his money and having only a No. 47 single ("I Hate Hate") to show for it. "I just didn't have the money to bring it off," Bailey said. "I talk to other recording artists now and find quite a few of them did the same thing. It gets so frustrating knowing that you have a saleable product and that you should get a break but you can't get the attention of a major label; so you start trying to do anything you can to make them aware of you." For instance, Alabama, now the hottest group in country music, played in obscurity for a decade before finally putting out its own album. It was eventually picked up by RCA and quickly rose to the top of the charts.
Things were a bit slower for Bailey. In 1976, Dickey Lee took a Bailey song, "9,999,999 Tears," to No. 1, and the labels that had been turning him down finally gave him a second look; RCA got Bailey, too, and in the last few years he has come through with more than a dozen top 10 hits and five No. 1's: "Lovin' Up a Storm," "I Keep Coming Back/True Life Country Music," "Anywhere There's a Jukebox," "Midnight Hauler" and "She Left Love All Over Me." But now, because his career has skyrocketed with concerts (he's at the Wax Museum on Tuesday with Earl Thomas Conley) and television appearances, Bailey doesn't have as much time to write his own songs; of course, Nashville's other 9,999,999 songwriters are now lined up at his door.