Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Tanya Tucker, “My Arms Stay Open All Night”

“My Arms Stay Open All Night”

Tanya Tucker

Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz

Radio & Records 

#1 (1 week)

January 19, 1990

Tanya Tucker’s hot streak continues with her first No.1 hit of the nineties.

The Road to No. 1

Tucker’s hit career started in the early seventies, with a string of southern gothic hits like “Delta Dawn,” “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” and “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” all recorded and released in her early teenage years on Columbia Records.  A move to MCA in 1975 kept the hits coming, as Tucker dabbled with pop sounds and a more mature image.

But her biggest stretch of success at country radio kicked off in 1986, as she joined the roster of Capitol Records and scored an uninterrupted run of big hit records.   She was only 30 years old when Capitol released Greatest Hits, Tucker’s third collection with that title – each from a different label, and each genuinely packed with hits.

“Daddy and Home” served as the bridge single, appearing both on the hits collection and her previous studio album, Strong Enough to Bend. Tucker followed it with the one new track recorded for the collection.

The No. 1

“My Arms Stay Open All Night” follows the template of Tucker’s eighties hits, which typically alternated between Tucker pining for love and recovering from heartbreak.  Here, she makes the case to a potential lover that she’ll be waiting, 24/7, for him to come around whenever he’s ready.

It’s a pleasant enough affair, and Tucker’s vocal prowess can lively up the most anti-septic production.  Just listen to that bridge, and how she lets loose vocally on it and the final chorus, like a tiger breaking through its restraints.

But this is as by-the-numbers as it gets for Tucker, and it doesn’t have the punch of the nineties hits that would power her to platinum sales in the next two years.

The Road From No. 1

Tucker’s final No. 1 hits on the Billboard chart came in the eighties.  In the nineties, “Arms” would be one of six records of hers to get stuck at No. 2.   But thanks to the inclusion of Radio & Records rankings, we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of Tucker in this feature.

“My Arms Stay Open All Night” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Clint Black, “Nobody’s Home”

Next: Ricky Van Shelton, “Statue of a Fool”

4 Comments

  1. This is first number one in the 90’s so far in which the 80’s pop country style could still be heard. That being said, I’ve always really enjoyed this one, as well, and it’s another one that I used to just listen over and over on one of my tapes. Always loved the catchy melody of this one! This was also an example of how the Paul Overstreet/Don Schlitz team was good at writing catchy contemporary country tunes, as well as the more traditional stuff they wrote for Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, etc.

    Tanya’s 80’s and 90’s work doesn’t get nearly enough recognition these days, imo.

  2. I have always regarded Tanya Tucker as one of the best of the females country vocalists. In fact I find myself pulling out her old recordings much more often than those of any other female artists other than Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Connie Smith and Patsy Cline. Back in 2008 I would have had her around #15 but as my tastes have changed I have elevated her to my personal top five

  3. As much as anything, 90’s country music was fun, from the personalities to the music to the videos.

    So many of the artists wore their influences on their sleeves.

    Tanya Tucker’s resurgence, along with John Anderson’s later renaissance, introduced the new country audience to country’s not too distant past. Throw in all the classic songs Ricky Van Shelton had covered on his first two albums in the late 80’s and there was a real sense of being able to connect the deeper past to the present with reason to be proud of the mainstream country music coming out of Nashville.

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