Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Joe Diffie, “If You Want Me To”

“If You Want Me To”

Joe Diffie

Written by Joe Diffie and Larry Williams

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

February 15, 1991

Joe Diffie keeps his No. 1 streak going with the second single from his debut album.

The Road to No. 1

Joe Diffie topped all three industry charts with “Home,” his debut single from his first album, A Thousand Winding Roads.  For the second single, Epic chose “If You Want Me To,” the first Diffie single to be supported by a video clip.

The No. 1

“If You Want Me To” is a tender ballad that serves as another showcase for Diffie’s singing talent, as he vows he will do whatever the woman he loves desires, whether she wants him to stay or to leave.  But he makes clear he has a preference to stay.

It doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of “Home,” with the melody and the hook being less memorable.  It also doesn’t have the emotional depth of some of his later ballads.

But it’s remarkable how even Diffie’s lesser hits still sound great today, further serving as a reminder of the full breadth of his talent.

The Road From No. 1

Diffie will score two more No. 1 hits in 1991, all from his debut album.

“If You Want Me To” gets a B. 

 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Mike Reid, “Walk On Faith” | Next: Pam Tillis, “Don’t Tell Me What to Do”

7 Comments

  1. This song really showcased Diffie’s range and interpretive skills as a vocalist. He had already set a pretty high bar with his debut single. He was almost without peer with what he was capable of doing with a lyric.

    An outrageously well sung song that put me on notice for what would come next from him.

    I remember the expectant energy of wondering if these young artists could sustain this level of craftsmanship or if they would be one hit wonders like Mike Reid.

    It’s heartening to see Diffie receiving the adulation, love, and respect he deserved in this feature.

  2. This is one of my absolute favorites of Diffie’s early singles. Love his vocals on this one, and as already mentioned, this one showed even further just how much range and skill he had as a singer. From those low notes his does on the verses to that incredibly high note he hits near he end, I’m still amazed by his range and talent featured on this track alone. I’ve always been a sucker for those “I really don’t want to leave you, but I will if it makes you happy” type of songs, as well, and I think Diffie’s emotional performance fits the song’s overall sentiment very well.

    As much as I love this song, it somehow never made it on any of my tapes when it first came out, and it never seemed to get much recurrent play afterwards. But then when I heard it again about ten years later on one of the countdown shows with Joe as the featured artist, it instantly came back to me and really took me back. Because I loved this song, along with “Home” and the other singles, Diffie’s debut record was one I was mainly on the hunt for throughout the early 00’s. And as I already mentioned before, it was very well worth it!

    BTW, I’m with Kevin in that I also miss MKOC! It’s great to see you here, Occasional Hope, and I’ve always enjoyed reading your reviews (along with the other writers reviews) of vintage albums on that site!

  3. I only ever lurked and read on MKOC but that led me to some of the other sites like The Musical Divide and here, and all are becoming a wonderful part of my online life. I actually got onto MKOC looking up a song of Tanya Tucker’s and a Dolly/Porter duet was my first time on this site. I love reading all of the articles even if I don’t always agree with what’s said (particularly about some songs on the Sirius posts – but I agree more than I don’t on there).

    Also all the wonderful things about Joe Diffie and also discovering that song I recently kept thinking of was his has inspired me to get some of his albums. I’m just sad part of the reason is his passing.

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