On This Day: The Statler Brothers Record ‘Charlotte’s Web’ For ‘Smokey & The Bandit II’ 41 Years Ago

by Madison Miller
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The action comedy film, “Smokey and the Bandit II,” had a single from The Statler Brothers.

The group was discovered by Johnny Cash. They sang as his opening act as well as his backup singers for a good portion of their career.

The group recorded the song “Charlotte’s Web” for the action film in 1980. It was also the very first single from their album “10th Anniversary.” It reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

The song is seemingly about a girl named Charlotte. She, despite being with others in the past, has the singer caught in her web of love. It is a connection to the book of the same name.

“But I’ll take the likes of Charlotte and her kind / Small-town talk, don’t matter now that Charlotte’s mine / It may be true, that other men have found her bed / But I’m the one who’s caught in Charlotte’s Web.”

The group also has their song, “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” on the soundtrack for the movie. They are joined by other artists like Brenda Lee, Tanya Tucker, Don Williams, and The Bandit Band on the soundtrack.

Critical Acclaim of ‘Smokey and the Bandit II’

Despite The Statler Brothers and their chart-topping song, the movie did not go over exceptionally well with audiences.

The sequel film stars Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, and Jackie Gleason. This time around Bandit is attempting to transport an elephant to the GOP National Convention.

While sequels are always given a bit more critique, many say this one was just not necessary. This movie is strikingly like the first.

“But the movie as a whole is a mess. There’s not even a clear reason why the elephant has to be taken to Texas. Episodes are strung along in no particular order … This one, with an unlimited budget, is lazy. How can I say it’s lazy when it has 50 trucks doing stunts in it? Because it takes a lot less thought to fill up a movie with stunts than to create a comedy that’s genuinely funny,” renowned film critic Roger Ebert said about the movie.

The Statler Brothers Now

The group, also known as The Kingsmen, was active all the way until 2002. The country, gospel group consisted of Don Reid, Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, and Lew DeWitt were the original members of the group.

The group retired after completing a farewell tour in October 2002. They sang a collection of their greatest hits before all going their own way.

Balsley and Don Reid are in Staunton, however Harold Reid passed away in April.

According to The New York Times, the singer died from kidney failure at the age of 80.

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