Carl Butler and Pearl

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Carl Butler and Pearl
OriginKnoxville, Tennessee
Years active1961–1980
Past membersCarl Butler
Pearl Butler

Carl Butler and Pearl was an American country music husband-and-wife duo. Between 1962 and 1969, the duo released several singles and charted thirteen times on the U.S. country charts, reaching No. 1 in 1962 with their first single, "Don't Let Me Cross Over".


Carl Robert Butler was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 2, 1927. He grew up influenced by Roy Acuff and the old time music around his home. He began singing at local dances at the age of 12 and, after service in World War II, sang with several bluegrass bands and then as a solo act on numerous radio shows, including the "Mid Day Merry Go Round" on WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee. During this period he met Pearl Dee Jones, a Nashville native born September 20, 1927, whom he married in 1952.

In 1961, Carl Butler recorded "Honky Tonkitis", which made it to number 25 on the country charts. The following year, the Butlers were invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and the exposure provided by the show helped them push "Don't Let Me Cross Over" to number one. Their first single as a duo spent almost three months at the top of the country music charts and they remained one of country music's most popular duos for the next two decades. Later chart records included "I Wouldn't Change You If I Could", "Too Late To Try Again", "Loving Arms" and "I'm Hanging Up The Phone".

Carl Butler was also a songwriter, penning classics including "If Teardrops Were Pennies", a No. 8 hit for Carl Smith in 1951 and a top 10 single for Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton in 1973, and "Crying My Heart Out Over You" which became Ricky Skaggs' first number one hit in 1981. The Butlers were also among the earliest supporters of Dolly Parton, with whom they had worked in Knoxville in the 1950s, and they helped to get her established in Nashville in the early 1960s. (Parton, in turn, paid tribute to the Butlers when she included "Don't Let Me Cross Over" on Treasures, a 1996 album of covers of some of her favorite songs.)

The Butlers continued to record throughout the 1970s but essentially retired to their ranch, "Crossover Acres", near Franklin, Tennessee, in the early 1980s. They made occasional guest appearances on the Opry until Pearl Butler died at the age of 60 on March 1, 1988. Carl made an unsuccessful attempt at a comeback after her death. He died of a heart attack on September 4, 1992.



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US
1963 Don't Let Me Cross Over 104 Columbia
1964 Loving Arms 10
1965 Old and the New
1966 The Great Carl Butler Sings Harmony
1967 Avenue of Prayer Columbia
1968 Our Country World
1969 Honky Tonkin' 41
1970 Greatest Hits
1971 For the First Time Harmony
1972 Watch and Pray
Temptation Keeps Twisting Her Arms Chart
1980 Country We Love Pedaca
Honky Tonkitis CMH


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1961 "Honky Tonkitis" (Carl Butler) 25 Don't Let Me Cross Over
1962 "Don't Let Me Cross Over" 1 88
1963 "Loving Arms" 14 Loving Arms
1964 "Too Late to Try Again" 9 Old and the New
"My Tears Don't Show" 36 Our Country World
"I'm Hanging Up the Phone" 14
"Forbidden Street" 23 single only
1965 "We'd Destroy Each Other" 38 Old and the New
"Just Thought I'd Let You Know" 22 Loving Arms
"Beers and Tears" singles only
"Our Ship of Love" 42
1966 "Wrong Generation"
"Little Pedro" 31 Our Country World
"Dreaming of a Little Cabin" Loving Arms
1967 "For a Minute There" single only
1968 "If I'd Only Met You First" Our Country World
"Punish Me Tomorrow"A 28 Honky Tonkin'
1969 "I Never Got Over You" 46
"We'll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning" 63 singles only
"If Teardrops Were Pennies"
1970 "Used to Own This Train"
"Bottoms Up"
1971 "Temptation Keeps Twisting Her Arms" Temptation Keeps Twisting Her Arms
1972 "She Didn't Come Home"
1973 "Heartaches for Lunch"
1980 "Motel Song" Honky Tonkitis
  • A"Punish Me Tomorrow" peaked at No. 25 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.

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