The Hit Songs of Golfer Don Cherry

There have been many golfers over the years who have dabbled in music. Some of those golfers have been notable, others not so much. One of the giants of the game, for example, Gary Player, released an album of songs in 1970.

Don Cherry was not a dabbler in either golf or music. He is more famous today as a singer and bandleader than as a golfer, although many people reading this probably won't remember him as either. But Cherry was a well-known name in both of his pursuits in the 1950s and 1960s. He played in the Walker Cup three times, challenged at a U.S. Open, and played on the PGA Tour.

In music, though, he had more success, and that's what this article is about. We're going Cherry pickin' and listening to this crooning golfer's biggest songs — and we'll wrap up with late-life collaborations with Willie Nelson. (Note that Amazon affiliate links appear below.)

Cherry's Hit Singles in the 1950s

Cherry started recording in 1950, and he had his very first chart success that year. Cherry, with a smooth but resounding voice, reached No. 7 on the Billboard singles chart with his version (performing with the Victor Young Orchestra) of Mona Lisa:

Next in 1950, Cherry recorded a version of the theme to the famous movie The Third Man. The original theme was an instrumental, but lyrics were added several years later. This song reached No. 22 on the charts:

Cherry's biggest hit of 1950 was Thinking of You, which reached No. 4:

In 1951, Cherry released Vanity, which rose to No. 11:

And here is another from 1951 that reached No. 25 — Belle, Belle, My Liberty Bell:

Cherry's biggest hit was Band of Gold, released in 1955. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard singles chart and sold more than one million copies. Decades later, in 2007, this song was the first one played following the opening credits of the first episode of the hit AMC television series Mad Men:

In 1956, Cherry added another two minor chart successes, Wild Cherry (peaked at No. 29) and Ghost Town (peaked at No. 22). On both, he was backed by the Ray Conniff Orchestra.

The last single Cherry released that charted was the 1966 record Married, which got to No. 30 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Although Cherry's days as a charting singles artist were over, he continued making music (including albums and releasing singles) throughout the 1970s, the 1980s and into the 1990s.

Cherry's Collaborations with Willie Nelson

In 1995, Cherry collaborated with Willie Nelson (himself an avid golfer) on an album entitled Augusta. Cherry re-released that album on an independent label in 2008, one year after another collaboration with Willie titled It's Magic was released. (Cherry and Nelson also sang together on the album The Eyes of Texas: A Tribute to Lady Bird Johnson, released in 2002.)

The title track to the album Augusta is the song that serves as the theme music for The Masters (including the lyrics you might not have known existed). Here is the Cherry/Willie version:

It's a terrible song, isn't it? At least with the lyrics included. But the rest of that album includes much, much better songs, such as One For My Baby (And One More for the Road), Try a Little Tenderness, Night Life, Red Sails in the Sunset and My Way. You can listen to the full Don Cherry/Willie Nelson Augusta album here.

This is our favorite Cherry/Willie song:

For more about Cherry's golf career, check out our Don Cherry biography.

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