Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Clint Black, “Nobody’s Home”

“Nobody’s Home”

Clint Black

Written by Clint Black

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

January 20 – February 3, 1990

Radio & Records 

#1 (2 weeks)

January 5 – January 12, 1990

Clint Black’s third consecutive No. 1 single spent multiple weeks at #1 on both charts.

The Road to No. 1

1989 was one of the most significant years for new acts in country music history, and Clint Black was at the head of the class.   By the time “Nobody’s Home” was sent to radio, Black was already the first country artist since Freddy Fender to have his first two singles go to No. 1.  His debut album, Killin’ Time, was already gold, and would be certified platinum the same month that “Nobody’s Home” became his third consecutive No. 1 hit.   Black was being heralded as his generation’s Merle Haggard, a lofty claim that his debut album lent credibility to.

The No. 1

“Nobody’s Home” certainly didn’t coast on the success of its excellent predecessors, “A Better Man” and “Killin’ Time,” despite both being bona fide classics.  “Nobody’s Home” keeps up the breakup theme of those two records, but where “Better Man” emphasized personal growth and “Killin’ Time” contemplated death, “Home” presents a breakup as something of a zombie purgatory.

Black is, by all outward appearances, the same man he’s always been.   “I still comb my hair the same. Still like the same cologne. I still drive that pickup track that the same old bank still owns.”  But inside, he’s wrecked:  “The lights are on,” he drawls, “but nobody’s home.”

Down the road, Black’s personal happiness would lead to a similar optimism in his musical output.  But on Killin’ Time, it’s all melancholic misery.   Which always makes for the best country music, doesn’t it?

The Road from No. 1

There is going to be a lot of Clint Black in this series, with two more singles from Killin’ Time still on deck.

“Nobody’s Home” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Keith Whitley, “It Ain’t Nothin'”

Next: Tanya Tucker, “My Arms Stay Open All Night”

 

5 Comments

  1. If it’s the first Greatest Hits collection that you have, I was absolutely baffled by the track list. Only three songs from his first two albums. I’d recommend buying all of his first four albums, but Killin’ Time is absolutely essential. Even the non-singles on that could’ve been smash hits.

  2. Ahh yes, one of the first songs I specifically remember hearing regularly on the radio when I was about four, along with his other smash “A Better Man.” Once again, I absolutely love this song. I remember revisiting it again around 2000 while listening to one of my old cassette tapes, wishing he would go back to making songs like that. It’s also what got me to finally add Killin’ Time to my collection. Even though I was still too young to relate to any of the misery the narrator was going through, something about the sad tone of that song and others like it always had me hooked. Though the first two singles off Killin’ Time are probably the most well known, it’s actually this one and the next two that are my favorites.

    Oh yeah, and I never got the logic behind the track listing for his first Greatest Hits album, either, which left most of his best earlier stuff off.

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