Imagine being a recording artist that has obtained moderate success and that mind-blowing, career-defining song comes along. In a cut-throat business, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was seasoned enough to capitalize on the moment, twice.

After forming in 1966, the group had limited success with their recordings, though they did land a couple roles in films. The most notable of those roles was in the film Paint Your Wagon which also starred Clint Eastwood.

By 1970, their take on a Jerry Jeff Walker creation titled "Mr. Bojangles" landed them at number 9 on the Billboard pop charts giving the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band a huge commercial success. However, the group tended to push their creative boundaries instead of mining for the next hit record.

For over twenty years, the self-described “Partners, Brothers and Friends” had undergone phases where people tried to place labels of folk, rock or country upon them. Despite what others thought, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band remained steadfast to their music.

That next earth-moving moment arrived in 1987 when “Fishin’ in the Dark” landed in their lap. Everyone associated with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was certain that the song would be huge and their instincts were right.

Four more top-ten hits followed for the band to complete a stretch in the 1980’s that included three number one singles. The biggest of those being “Fishin’ in the Dark.”

 

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