“In a Different Light”
Written by Bucky Jones, Dickey Lee, and Bob McDill
#1 (1 week)
May 25, 1991
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
May 10, 1991
Another new star scores his first No. 1 single.
The Road to No. 1
Doug Stone didn’t have a major label contract until he was in his thirties, but he started in the industry very early, performing by age five and even opening for Loretta Lynn at age seven. He diligently payed his dues, performing at ice skating rinks and bars while holding down a day job as a mechanic. He built his own recording studio at his home, and his demos were successful enough to earn him a contract with Epic Records. Upon signing him, they asked for him to change his name from Douglas Brooks to avoid confusion with Garth Brooks, so he adopted the stage name that made him famous.
He hit right out of the gate with one of the strongest singles of the decade, “I’d Be Better Off (in a Pine Box}”, which was the first single from his self-titled debut album. It was a top ten hit, as were his next two singles, “Fourteen Minutes Old” and “These Lips Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye.” With the fourth single, Doug Stone finally earned his first chart-topper.
The No. 1
“In a Different Light” is a country love song that demonstrates how far the genre could reach beyond its traditional small town themes.
The setting isn’t the local Dairy Queen or a rural back road, but rather a nondescript office, where the protagonists work together, three desks apart. Stone plays the role of a coworker who gets to see his very professional, very understated partner downplay her beauty behind glasses and conservative suits. But he knows what she looks like with her “hair falling down,” which is how he saw her last night.
It’s tasteful in the same way that Conway Twitty’s love songs were. While later Stone hits would take his “Mr. Love” reputation and weigh him down, he keeps things on the right side of the line between sentimental and sappy.
The Road From No. 1
Doug Stone would follow this hit with another two consecutive No. 1 singles, both of which appeared on his sophomore set and will be covered later this year.
“In a Different Light” gets a B+.