Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Brooks & Dunn, “My Next Broken Heart”

“My Next Broken Heart”

Brooks & Dunn

Written by Kix Brooks, Don Cook, and Ronnie Dunn

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

December 21 – December 28, 1991

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

December 13, 1991

This broken heart’s got a hell of a beat.

The Road to No. 1

Brooks & Dunn topped the chart with their debut single as a duo, “Brand New Man.”  Arista took no chances with its follow-up, written by the same songwriting team and featuring the same driving country sound as their first chart-topper.

The No. 1

“My Next Broken Heart” might have a similar title to the song it replaced at the top of the Billboard chart, but this is no heartbroken ballad.

Dunn turns in a fierce and self-deprecating performance as he laments that he’s about to get his heart broken again, and he’s going to love every minute of it.

It’s cleverly written, with this couplet being particularly sharp:  “I thought all along you’d be the death of me.  But I found one tonight who wants what’s left of me.”

Brand New Man produced one classic after another.  This one might be the least remembered of its five singles, and it certainly is the least remembered of the four No. 1s.

That’s a good thing if you’re reading this, because revisiting it is a joyous experience that hasn’t been dulled down from heavy recurrent airplay over three decades.

The Road From No. 1

Next up from Brooks & Dunn is their first hit ballad, and it’s a doozy. We’ll get to it in 1992.

“My Next Broken Heart” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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7 Comments

  1. Definitely one of my favorite B&D recordings. This song received very heavy airplay for at least three months and has remained a favorite recurrent in Central Florida plus virtually every cover band / bar band has this song in their repertoire

  2. A tongue-in-cheek classic. My colleague has shared Ronnie Dunn’s vocals are enticingly playful, and she often feels he is having fun with her on their most up-beat songs like this.

    It also speaks to the carrying capacity of country music, that on back to back number one singles, a broken heart can either threaten to stop the world or have you excitedly working on the next one!

    The guy in this song has been apparently shot down, taught how to hurt, and driven back to drinking.

    He just doesn’t give a damn!

    The stage on which this “neon ballet” plays out sounds like “any ole’ honky took bar.”
    Any sadness B&D feel heading toward this kind of broken heart is tempered by their enthusiasm to willingly put their ticker on the line for another good time.

    Anyone remember Bre’r Rabbit and the briar patch?

  3. One of my all time favorites by Brooks & Dunn, and I personally still think it’s one of their best! This is simply early 90’s neo-traditional honky tonk at its finest, and Ronnie Dunn has the perfect voice for this kind of material. You can even hear Kix providing some nice harmonies, especially in the second part of the opening verse. I just love the overall sound of this recording too. I especially love the twangy telecaster featured throughout, and Bruce Bouton’s steel guitar has never sounded better. Not to mention the melody is so friggin’ catchy! You can almost picture yourself in some dimly lit honky tonk or dancehall just having a good time while this song is playing.

    As I had mentioned in the “Brand New Man” thread, this is one of the songs of theirs that was out on the radio just before I even really knew it was Brooks & Dunn, but I still really liked the song, anyway. I had this one recorded from the radio in late 1991 on to the B side of the same tape I mentioned in Alabama’s “Then Again.” Also on that side of the tape was “Married But Not To Each Other” by Barbara Mandrell, “Calloused Hands” by Mark Collie, “If Not For You” by Olivia Newton-John, and “Broken Promise Land” by Mark Chesnutt (The rest of the tape is occupied by a recording of my mom’s old Duane Eddy LP record). As you can see, there was still a nice and interesting variety going on at radio, with older songs and artists being played right alongside the newer ones. Of course, I would finally become much more familiar with B&D when my step dad bought the Brand New Man album later in 1992 when we were staying in Dad’s house, and I instantly recognized the first two songs off the album. This was also one of my dad’s favorite songs and one he could never resist singing along to whenever it came on my ipod or on a cd while riding in his truck. He would always try to mimic Ronnie Dunn’s accent going, “Workeeen awwn my neext broken haawrt!” lol

    I’ve always loved this song’s video, as well! I especially always liked the dialogue between the two in the beginning, plus the parts where a frustrated Ronnie Dunn is trying to concentrate on fixing their broken down truck, but is constantly distracted by Kix goofing off on the guitar, lol.

    Peter – I have heard of that, but it’s been so long! I actually remember my step dad making references to Bre’r Rabbit when I was little, lol. That really brings back memories, too. That also reminds me of another song from around 1991 that was much more obscure and I had never heard until more recently: “Briar Patch” by Keith Palmer. :)

  4. Jamie, Keith Palmer was a co-writer on Reba’s “For My Broken Heart!”

    I had completely forgotten him as an artist and the song “Don’t Throw Me in the Briar Patch”. Wikipedia just told me it was a co-written by Kix Brooks! In fact, his eponymous Epic release apparently also included two songs co-written by Joe Diffie.

    To boot, Gary Allan recorded Palmer’s second single from his debut ” Forgotten But Not Gone” on his 1998 album “It Would Be You.”

    I am currently lost down the Keith Palmer rabbit hole!

  5. Oh wow, I actually never caught that he co-wrote the Reba song! Talk about a major coincidence. I’m actually still on the hunt for that Keith Palmer album (I’m old fashioned. I still like to go to the used cd & book store to find long out of print cd’s as opposed to buying online). I found that song on YouTube and liked it, along with other songs from that album floating around there. I was surprised to see that he was the one who originally recorded “Forgotten But Not Gone,” as that’s always been one of my personal favorite Gary Allan songs! Unfortunately, I read that he passed away not long after that album was released. :(

  6. In the rush to find the next big thing who could reach #1 with their debut, Nashville signed a ridiculous amount of insanely talented artists in the early nineties who never broke the way the labels hoped.

    Obviously, Keith Palmer is one of those artists. B.B. Watson, Bobbie Cryner, Stacy Dean Campbell, Lee Roy Parnell, and Rick Vincent are some others that sit in my collection who deserved better than they got.

    That tier of artist is fascinating to remember and revisit. Proof again of how dangerously deep the talent pool was at the time.

    By comparison, Nashville’s mainstream rosters now feel like a baby bath.

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