On This Day: Emmylou Harris Releases 2nd Consecutive #1 Album ‘Luxury Liner’ in 1977

by Emily Morgan

In 1976, 45-years ago today, Emmylou Harris released her second consecutive No. 1 album, Luxury Liner.

However, unlike her preceding album, Elite Hotel, there were no. 1 hits from this album. 

On Luxury Liner, Harris had two charting singles on the record. A Chuck Berry cover “(You Never Can Tell) C’est la Vie,” went to No. 6 on Billboard. Additionally, “Making Believe” (originally a hit for Kitty Wells), also made it to the No. 8 spot on the chart. 

Fans may also remember the album as the first cover version of Townes Van Zandt’s 1972 song “Pancho and Lefty.”

The song became one of Van Zandt’s best-known compositions.

Luxury Liner was the third studio album for the Alabama native, excluding Gliding Bird, released in 1970.  

Emmylou Harris Covers Favorite Artists in Luxury Liner

Like its two predecessors, Elite Hotel and Pieces of the Sky, Harris incorporated a mix of country and rock-and-roll. Yet this time depending more on cover material than in her earlier work. 

Backed by her superb Hot Band, Luxury Liner pays homage to various artists. She pays tribute to Chuck Berry, her late mentor Gram Parsons, The Carter Family, The Louvin Brothers, and Kitty Wells. 

After its release, Luxury Liner claimed the No. 1 spot on the “Billboard Top Country Albums” chart and is known as her best-selling solo effort.

Rodney Crowell, Albert Lee, Glen D. Hardin, Emory Gordy Jr., and Ricky Skaggs lend their talents to The Hot Band. Herb Pedersen, Nicolette Larson, Fayssoux Starling, and Dolly Parton also lend their voices to the record. 

Even though Harris only released two singles, Luxury Liner contains some well-known gems. “Hello Stranger,” accompanied by Nicolette Larson, had been a Carter Family hit in the 1930s. 

Additionally, the record includes a superb cover of Susanna Clark’s “I’ll Be Your Rose of San Antone.”

It also features a remake of the Louvin Brothers’ “When I Stop Dreaming,” wherein Dolly Parton provides stunning harmonies. 

In 2004, Warner Bros. re-released Luxury Liner with two bonus tracks: “Me and Willie” and “Night Flyer,” written by Johhny Mullins. Mullins is best known for writing “Blue Kentucky Girl,” a commercial hit for Emmylou and Loretta Lynn.