#3: Heart Of The Night by Poco

City: Fredericton, NB
Radio Station: CIHI
Peak Month: July 1979
Peak Position in Fredericton: #2
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20
YouTube: “Heart Of The Night
Lyrics: “Heart Of The Night

Richard Furay was born in 1944 in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He got his first guitar when he was eight years old. He met Stephen Stills in the summer of 1963, and the pair formed the Au GoGo Singers. In 1965, they joined the Buffalo Springfield. Furay was part of the trend-setting sound of the Buffalo Springfield, with “For What It’s Worth” and other classics. The Buffalo Springfield began splintering in 1968. When Bruce Palmer left the band, he was replaced by Jim Messina who was in the recording studio for the bands’ last album Last Time Around. Messina and Furay formed Poco later that year. Messina began playing guitar at the age of five. He left Poco after the first two albums and became part of the duo of Loggins and Messina.

Rusty Young was one of the original members of Poco. He played steel and rhythm guitars, dobro, banjo, mandolin, percussion, and contributed vocals. Young was born in Long Beach (CA) in 1946. He began playing lap steel guitar at age 6, and taught guitar and steel guitar lessons during his high school years at Jefferson High School, Lakewood, Colorado with future Poco bandmate George Grantham. During that time, he also played country music in late night bars. Young played in a well known Denver psychedelic rock band Boenzee Cryque.

Furay, Messina, Young and Grantham were in the studio to record Poco’s debut album, Pickin’ Up The Pieces. It was released in 1969. The title track made the Top 20 on the singles chart in Kingston (ON). After the release of Picking Up The Pieces, Poco’s fifth bandmate, Randy Meisner, quit the band and formed a band called The Eagles.

Paul Cotton replaced Jim Messina in 1970. Cotton was born in Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 1943. He started learning the guitar when he was 13 years old, and became involved in his first band a year later. He relocated to Illinois by age 16 and joined the Mus-Twangs, which later became the Illinois Speed Press. He played for the group throughout the next decade until 1970.

Among their single releases, “You Better Think Twice” was a Top Ten hit in 1970 in both Chilliwack (BC) and Lethbridge (AB). In 1971, “C’mon” reached #9 in Vancouver, though it stalled at #69 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Between 1968 and 1983, Poco was variously a four or five-piece band. Ten different members of the band were in various lineups over these years. Richie Furay left Poco in 1973. Though they built a fan base, by 1978 they had only one album make the Top 40 on the Billboard album chart: Crazy Eyes at #38 in 1973.

Poco released their eleventh studio album, Legend, in late 1978. The band consisted of Young, Cotton, Charlie Harrison on bass guitar, and Steve Chapman on drums. The album shot to #14 one the Billboard album chart. It featured Poco’s biggest hit, “Crazy Love”. The followup single to “Crazy Love” was “Heart Of The Night”.

Heart Of The Night by Poco
“Heart Of The Night” was written by Paul Cotton.

“Heart Of The Night” reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, the single peaked at #2 in Fredericton, #6 in Montreal, #7 in Winnipeg, #8 in Ottawa and Saskatoon, and #9 in Prince George (BC).

Poco kept on releasing albums and singles. But they waited until 1989 to have another Top 40 hit: “Call It Love” which reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. The accompanying album, Legacy, made it to #40 on the Billboard 200 Album chart.

Chapman and Harrison remained with Poco into the mid-80s. Rusty Young remained with Poco until his death in 2021. Cotton left Poco in 1987 and returned in late 1991. He stayed with Poco until 2010. Between 1990 and 2014, Cotton released five solo albums. His last was 100% Paul Cotton. He died in July 2021 at the age of 78. On his official Facebook page, it was stated Paul Cotton “passed away unexpectedly, peacefully.”

In 2013, Young was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. He released his first solo album in 2017 titled Waitin’ For The Sun. Rusty Young died at the age of 75 in April 2021 of a heart attack.

February 5, 2024.
Ray McGinnis

David Browne, “Rusty Young, Poco Co-Founder and Pedal Steel Player, Dead at 75,” Rolling Stone, April 15, 2021.
Matt Friedlander, “Longtime Poco singer/guitarist Paul Cotton dead at age 78,” August 2, 2021.
Poco Celebrating 50 Years,” Poco Band.com.
The Rusty Young (Poco) Interview,” Vintage Rock.com.

Heart Of The Night by Poco

CIHI 1260-AM Fredericton (NB) Top Ten | July 27, 1979


One response to “Heart Of The Night by Poco”

  1. Richard Skelly says:

    I was thinking of Paul Cotton during the In Memoriam Segment of the 2024 Grammy Awards, wondering how many worthy artists who had passed away in the previous year would suffer the same fate as Paul. His memory got snubbed at the ‘22 awards by his face and name not being included in that tribute segment.

    Poignant that both Paul and Rusty Young died within months of one another in 2021. They had apparently patched up the feud that had led Paul to announce his retirement from the band in 2010.

    Poco’s breakthrough smash Crazy Love was written and sung by Rusty; followup hit The Heart of the Night was composed and sung by Paul.

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