“Statue of a Fool”
Ricky Van Shelton
Written by Jan Crutchfield
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 26, 1990
Ricky Van Shelton took another classic country song to the top, keeping his eighties momentum going into the nineties.
The Road to No. 1
By the turn of the decade, Ricky Van Shelton was an A-list superstar. The reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year already had two platinum albums under his belt, along with several No. 1 singles. A new traditionalist of the highest order, everything Shelton sang sounded like something from an earlier era, even when he was tackling newly written material. But many of his big hits were covers of decades-old songs like “From a Jack to a King,” “I’ll Leave This World Loving You,” and “Life Turned Her That Way.”
The No. 1
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the lead single from his third collection, RVS III, was also a cover. Shelton was the fourth artist to chart with “Statue of a Fool.” Jack Greene took it to No. 1 in 1969, and Brian Collins to No. 10 just five years later. Pop singer Bill Medley also dented the charts with his version.
As Shelton covers go, this one doesn’t shine quite as bright as the songs mentioned above, for which the case could be made that Shelton recorded the definitive versions. Part of the reason is Shelton’s voice is simply too strong. He delivers the song with such force and confidence that it cuts against the forlorn self-loathing of the lyric, which Jack Greene captured perfectly in his chart-topping original.
The Road From No. 1
RVS III was the first Shelton album where he shines best on the contemporary material, and from this point on, Shelton will top the chart with original recordings.
“Statue of Fool” gets a B.