Watch Robert Goulet perform ''I Love My Truck'' on In the Heat of the Night
The Grammy and Tony-winning crooner played a country singer past his prime.
For fans of Tony and Grammy-winning singer Robert Goulet, 1992 was a big year.
Not only did Goulet reprise his most famous role in his career, but he also performed a series of quirky songs on television, including a country song on In the Heat of the Night.
In the actor-singer’s career, an early performance as Lancelot in the Sixties Broadway musical Camelot led to Goulet performing what ultimately became his signature song "If Ever I Would Leave You."
Throughout his career, Goulet said fans constantly requested to hear that song more than even the smash single that gave Goulet his first gold record, "My Love Forgive Me."
It was "If Ever I Would Leave You" that fans wanted to hear him sing live most, and naturally, over time, Goulet started dodging that particular request.
"I sang that song for seven years, so you can understand why I’m tired of it," Goulet told The Sydney Morning Herald in 1971. "People still ask me to sing it wherever I go – but if I can get out of it, I will."
But in 1992, Goulet gave his fans what they wanted and reprised his role as Lancelot in a touring production of Camelot, singing his signature song once more.
His fans certainly were ready to be entertained that year, and Goulet did not disappoint, giving a series of unexpected performances, including playing a piano player who suffers injuries in the "Weird" Al Yankovic music video for "You Don’t Love Me Anymore" and appearing as the country crooner Eddie Larren on the In the Heat of the Night episode "When the Music Stopped."
On In the Heat of the Night, it’s established that Eddie Larren is by this point in his career all washed up, but he’s still Bubba Skinner’s favorite country singer.
At the height of the episode, the two characters meet together onstage during a rousing rendition of Goulet’s character’s song "I Love My Truck."
As an onscreen actor, Goulet started appearing on TV in the 1950s, part of the Canadian transplant singer’s ambition to become better known to the American audiences he left behind when he left his home state Massachusetts.
Through the Sixties, he appeared on hit shows like The Big Valley and The Lucy Show, but at that time, he was better known for botching the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" the first time he sang it before a big fight in New York.
As time passed, Goulet only became more and more familiar to TV audiences as his TV appearances increased through the Seventies and Eighties.
Then Goulet had two big-screen moments in the late Eighties, given funny scene-stealing cameos in hit comedies Beetlejuice and Scrooged.
Just before his appearance on In the Heat of the Night, Goulet had gone from being endlessly mocked over botching the National Anthem to such a TV favorite that he even filmed a TV pilot for a highly-anticipated Walt Disney comedy-drama from Night Court writers called Acting Sheriff.
That pilot aired as a TV movie in 1991, but ultimately the series – which found Goulet cast as a B movie actor who unexpectedly becomes sheriff of a small town in California – was not picked up.
Instead, the next year, Goulet was free to give perhaps one of his goofiest vocal performances of all time, singing "I Love My Truck" on In the Heat of the Night.
Goulet passed away in 2007, still remembered for his voice, which many considered show-stopping.
Despite his enormous success as a chart-topping singer for decades, Goulet was humble about his huge talents.
"I think I’m a good singer and have a good voice," Goulet said. "I wouldn’t say I was the greatest in the world – but I get by."
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Anyhow, Goulet was one of the entrants, along with a wannabe country singer (whose version won) and another version I can't remember. Goulet came in second in the contest with his big band version, and even he admitted that the country guy's version was the best.
Bob told Howard that the project he was working on was to take songs by rock performers like 'the Boss' (and Goulet actually said that) and do them big-band style. Whether or not he actually did the record, I have no idea, but it sounds a lot like Pat Boone's album of hard rock and metal covers (which is surprisingly pretty good IMO) and Paul Anka's recent albums where he did swing versions of alternative rock songs (both of which are good as well).